Special Edition Tuesday Talk: Juneteenth presented by Dr. Carol Bunch Davis, Heather Coleman-Cox, Jamar Ruff, and Taylor Stewart
Learn: Join us for a special guest panel presentation about everything Juneteenth! We will be hosting a livestream Zoom webinar discussing the history, education, culture, and significance of Juneteenth.
Carol Bunch Davis is Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of English in the Department of Liberal Studies at Texas A&M University, Galveston. Her current book project reads Black Galvestonians’ memoirs, journalism, commemorative spaces, leisure spaces and cultural institutions as producing, preserving, and amplifying a Black sense of place. Her first book Prefiguring Postblackness: Cultural Memory, Drama and the African American Freedom Struggle of the 1960s was a finalist for the Benjamin Hooks Institute Book Award in 2015.
Carol’s presentation “Juneteenth and Absolute Equality” traces Juneteenth’s Galveston origins, discusses its implications in Galveston and across Texas and reflects on its legacies in the current moment.
Heather Coleman-Cox is the Media Relations Director for Juneteenth Oregon and has been since 2014. Heather was born and raised in Portland, Oregon but left the state to pursue new career opportunities. During her time away, she developed an appreciation and increased awareness of Juneteenth while participating in several Juneteenth events on the East Coast. Her Mother, Ms. Edna Mae Pittman, taught her the importance of community service which led her to volunteer with non-profit organizations such as Daughter for a Day. These experiences guided her toward a volunteer position at Juneteenth Oregon when she returned home. Her commitment to the non-profit allowed her to move up the ranks into her current position. She and the organization are excited about the future of Juneteenth and hope that it will receive its full recognition in American history, while they endeavor to establish Juneteenth as a nationally recognized and celebrated paid holiday.
Heather will be discussing how Juneteenth was initially celebrated, the Juneteenth flag and the meaning behind it, as well as explain the traditional red food, drinks, and other traditions surround the Juneteenth holiday. She will share with us how Juneteenth Oregon was founded, what the organization does today, and the role they have played in the legislation passed to make Juneteenth an Oregon paid state holiday.
Jamar Ruff is originally from Atlanta, Georgia and his family is from Roberta, Georgia. He currently works as the Outreach Coordinator for Coos Head Food Co-op and sits on the board of directors as Vice Chair of United Way of Southwestern Oregon. Volunteering and community advocacy are at the core of things I am passionate about among gardening and cooking.
Jamar will be speaking about his experiences as an African American male growing up in the South and as a descendant of slaves. He will share information and stories from his own life as well as those of his family members. He will discuss his family’s history, culture, and experiences with Juneteenth as well as how he feels when he hears one of his favorite African American poets Maya Angelou, say “I come as one, but I stand as 10,000.”
Taylor Stewart graduated from the University of Portland in 2018 and has graduated from Portland State University with a Master’s in Social Work this June. Taylor started the Oregon Remembrance Project in 2018 to memorialize Alonzo Tucker, Oregon’s only documented African American victim of lynching, and will expand this work of historical remembrance in Oregon. Taylor’s work seeks to find justice for historical injustice through collective truth telling and communal repair.
“Free at last! Free at last!” but have we really been freed at last? Taylor will share some of his own experiences with Juneteenth, but will also reflect on Juneteenth’s significance for contemporary reflection on the present-day movement for racial justice.
For more information about the Coos History Museum’s Juneteenth Celebration, visit our webpage by clicking here: Juneteenth Celebration.
All events subject to change.