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Juneteenth Celebration Draws A Festive Crowd To Medford

The festival was held to celebrate America's newest national holiday. Juneteenth marks June 19th, 1865, when enslaved African-Americans in Texas got news — two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued — that they were free.

A diverse crowd of several hundred gathered in downtown Medford at Pear Blossom Park for a celebration that had the feel of a block party. Music, food, crafts, kid's activities and more made the event a family-friendly way to pass a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Juneteenth has been celebrated by African-Americans since the late 1800s, as marking the real end of slavery in the United States. Both the federal and Oregon governments recently made Juneteenth an official holiday.

The Saturday event was organized by BASE (Black Alliance and Social Empowerment), with backing from BEST (Black Employee Support Team) and the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Team at Southern Oregon University.