The Dunbar Heritage Society board members, from left to right: Wayne Thompson, Alex Banbury Jr., President; Mittie Miller, Vice President; Jonafa Banbury, Secretary; Claudette Blythe, Treasurer. Photos submitted by Jonafa Banbury
This year, San Marcos organizations are coming together in a sense of community, commemoration and fellowship to host the first ever countywide Juneteenth celebration. The Dunbar Heritage Association, the Hays County Historical Commission, Cephas House and the Calaboose Museum will hold a series of events — some of which are already underway — to share the history and culture of Black Americans in our community.
“It’s the first time we’re all pulling together for a citywide celebration,” said Jonafa Banbury, Secretary of the Dunbar Heritage Association.
“It’s definitely a community thing,” added Alex Banbury, Jr., who serves as the DHA President. “We all want to work together. We have the same end goal.”
The Dunbar Heritage Association will continue the CommonUnity pledge, which connects to the theme of February’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, “From Collective Chaos to CommonUnity,” an ideology inspired by Dr. King’s work. The pledge encourages people to promote and model specific objectives aimed at promoting community, collaboration and civility.
“Now it’s the middle of the year, have we met those objectives?” Alex said. “We’re encouraging more people to take the pledge as we examine what it means to be truly free, as we celebrate Juneteenth.”
The official Juneteenth Celebration began in San Marcos on June 1 with a proclamation for Juneteenth read in Hays County Commissioners Court and will continue throughout the month with a variety of activities and events planned for the cities within the county.
On June 19, San Marcos will begin its Juneteenth Celebration at 9 a.m. at the LBJ MLK Crossroad Memorial. This Juneteenth Unity Walk will begin at the place where LBJ and Martin Luther King, Jr. intersect and will continue to Paul Laurence Dunbar Recreation Center. The walking route is .9 miles and will officially begin at 9:30 a.m.
DHA will host their annual, traditional Juneteenth Celebration from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Dunbar Recreation Center, featuring games, speakers, live soul music, vendors, food trucks, a virtual 5k fundraiser, a silent auction, games such as bingo, spades and dominos, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, a traditional cake walk and more. The evening will end with live music from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and an in-person gospel concert. Print This, one of the event’s cosponsors, will sell commemorative t-shirts. Soulful Creations, another co-sponsor, will be on site with a menu of traditional (and delicious) soul food.
The featured guest speaker for the event is Dr. Raphael Travis, MSW Program Director at Texas State University in the school of Social Work. He is the author of the book, “The Healing Power of Hip Hop.”
Dr. Raphel Travis, MSW at Texas State University, will be the featured guest speaker at this year’s Juneteenth Celebration. Submitted photos
The Calaboose Museum will be reopening with activities to celebrate Juneteenth from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to their activities, they will host a COVID-19 vaccination truck to help citizens to participate in community events going forward. For more information, visit their website at calaboosemuseum.com.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Cephas house will host an Elementary School Students’ Art Display, featuring art from selected San Marcos Consolidated ISD schools.
The San Marcos Juneteenth Foundation will have its charity BBQ Cook-off at City Plaza Park from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. This event, spearheaded by foundation president Constable David Peterson, is open to the public with all-day music, a children’s section with activities, a BBQ taste test line-up and vendors.
“The BBQ Cook-off is back with more than 25 teams participating,” said Vanessa Westbrook, who serves as the vice president of the foundation as well as the chair of the Hays County Historical Commission, African-American Heritage Committee. “We are adding a new component this year… the People’s Choice Award Taste Test to get the public involved.”
Though the primary celebration takes place on June 19, the Juneteenth Celebration will continue until June 26 with open-space activities throughout the county.
“The event will continue to the end of June with an outdoor party for the public at Wonder World Park in San Marcos,” said Westbrook, who also created the county-wide calendar for June’s events.
For more information about events, tournaments and to register for the virtual 5k, visit the Dunbar Heritage Association’s Facebook page at facebook.com/dunbarheritage.