Flagstaff Expo Highlights Black-Owned Businesses On Juneteenth
President Joe Biden signed a law Thursday recognizing Juneteenth National Independence Day. It acknowledges the day enslaved people in Galveston, Tex. discovered slavery had ended — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was passed.
Flagstaff’s own Southside Community Association has for years commemorated the holiday; this weekend, an expo will highlight local Black-owned businesses.
Local vendors will gather outdoors at the Murdoch Community Center in Flagstaff Saturday as organizers present and discuss the history of Juneteenth. Khara House is part of the Southside Community Association and Chair of the Coconino County African Diaspora Advisory Council. She says alongside the history of Juneteenth lies a rich history of Black communities in Flagstaff:
“Flagstaff had a number of places that historically were part of what’s known as the historic Green Book, which was a register of places for safe travel for people of color particularly for Black and African Americans traveling across the country,” House says.
The Motel DeBeau in downtown Flagstaff provided one of those spaces. House also notes the prominent role Black community members played in Flagstaff’s once-thriving lumber industry.
“The history of the Black community of Flagstaff is Flagstaff’s history,” she adds.
Last year, Flagstaff organizers held a virtual Junteenth celebration due to the COVID-19 pandemic; House says tomorrow’s business expo will allow people to come together and connect.