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The first-ever Juneteenth in the Bluff festival is launched by UAPB and Pine Bluff City



Little Rock, Arkansas – In collaboration with the City of Pine Bluff, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) hosted its inaugural “Juneteenth in the Bluff” celebration.

On the day that African Americans who had been held as slaves in Texas discovered they were free in the 1800s, vendors, families, and performers descended upon the downtown area to rejoice.

Family-friendly amenities were provided by volunteers and event organizers, including a kids’ area, a variety of food options, lots of music, and lots of happy and dancing faces.

Teki Hunt, a volunteer at the event, highlights the significance of Juneteenth history to UAPB, noting that the university was established the year following Texas’s emancipation.

“So, after the enslaved persons were finally liberated in the state of Texas, UAPB was founded that very next year, giving opportunity for those who had been enslaved that didn’t have the opportunity to go to any other university,” Hunt says.

According to Hunt, a lot of vendors downtown joined in on the celebration of the event. It’s enjoyable for the whole family, she says, with food and activities included.

“It’s for the whole family to come out. There are things for kids to do. There’s plenty of water. We don’t want anybody to get dehydrated. And there’s all these different activities. Oh, and take the samples that the Saracen chefs are doing. I’ve tasted from the farm to table and it’s really good,” Hunt says.

Vice Chancellor George Cotton of UAPB claims that the occasion fosters community cohesion, aids in Pine Bluff’s reconstruction, and inspires people to envision a different downtown.

“The reason we’re having this in downtown is because, like most small towns across the country, they’re struggling to rebuild and revitalize itself. So, when you come to the Juneteenth festival here, you’re going to be in downtown Pine Bluff, and it’s here to urge people to rethink and reimagine what the downtown area would look like,” Cotton says.

Many state visitors came to enjoy their first event, according to Cotton, and other municipal officials, including Mayor Shirley Washington, were also in attendance.

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