November 22, 2014

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Oberlin celebrates Juneteenth

OBERLIN — Oberlin’s Juneteenth Celebration, which pays tribute to the freeing of the slaves, takes place today.
This year Juneteenth commemorates the accomplishments of “Ultimate Freedom Fighters: Dred and Harriet Scott,” who sued for their freedom on the basis of their residence in free states and territories.
Although the U.S. Supreme Court upheld their enslavement in the Dred Scott v. Sanford decision in 1857, the decision increased anger and opposition throughout the northern states and cities, including Oberlin, a hotbed of abolitionist activity.
While the event includes lots of song, food and fun activities, it has a serious side, too.
“We like the idea — it’s more than fun,” said Phyllis Yarber Hogan of the Juneteenth committee and the Oberlin African-American Genealogy and History Group. “Juneteenth is a celebration for all Americans.”
It marks the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation on June 19, 1865, in Texas.
Here’s what is planned:
People will gather at 8:30 a.m. on the northwest corner of Tappan Square to take riders to Lorain where a monument to Stop 100 on the Underground Railroad will be dedicated.
At 10 a.m. on Tappan Square, there will be the Ancestral Libation and a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, as well as other activities.
The Freedom Parade begins at noon and will feature marchers from churches, community organizations, Oberlin families and the Down Home Riders, a group of black cowboys based in Berea.
“Born to Fly” will be a salute to Oberlin’s Tuskegee airman at 1 p.m.
At 2 p.m., there will be a beans and greens contest featuring the best red bean or black-eyed peas or mixed greens recipes. Winners in both categories will receive $100.
At 2:30 p.m., there will be a double-dutch jump rope demonstration followed by a demonstration of Capoeira Angola — Brazilian fight dancing — at 3 p.m.
For the first time, Juneteenth will feature a political cartoon contest, and participants are welcome to bring their entries. Judging will be at 3 p.m. In addition to a first-place prize of $100 and a second-place prize of $50, winning cartoons will be published in the Main Street Oberlin newsletter and displayed in the library.
Couples will reaffirm their marriage vows with the traditional African “jumping the broom” ceremony at 3:30 p.m., and throughout the day there will be trolley tours, music on the bandstand, readings and bicycle giveaways. There will be food for sale and free games for children, including pony rides and a chance to meet the Down Home Riders and their horses.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.