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First Annual Junaluska Jubilee: Celebrate the Heritage of Boone’s Black Community on Saturday, April 21

April 21, 2012. The first ever Junaluska Jubilee will be held in Boone, NC, on Saturday, April 21, 2012, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gala event will be take place in the little known, Black American Junaluska community that has been in existence for over 150 years on the hill above the Watauga County Public Library. The public is invited to take part in the free event.

The day’s program will kick off at 11:00 a.m. at the Mennonite Brethren Church on Church Street. Originally, there were plans for a parade from the church to Junaluska Park, with most events taking place at the park, but due to anticipated inclement weather, all events will now be held within the church. Entertainment includes “Star of the Sea” puppeteers, magician Rick Ramseur, the ASU African Women’s Group, and the Mennonite Brethren Church Gospel Choir.

Free ice cream and popcorn will be offered all afternoon. Free parking is available at the foot of the hill on Queen St. next to the library. There will be a van service to the Jubilee site for the handicapped and elderly. For more information contact Roberta Jackson at 828-773-2540 or e-mail jacksonrh@appstate.edu.

About the Junaluska Heritage Association

The nonprofit Junaluska Heritage Association is a partnership of residents of the Junaluska community and townspeople from the Boone area, assisted by faculty at Appalachian State University and others. The Association’s ongoing Junaluska History Project has received support from the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina, the Boone Mennonite Brethren Church, Appalachian State University and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. For further information, or if you would like to become a member of the Junaluska Heritage Association or assist with the Junaluska History Project, please call 828-773-2540 or 828-964-0811. Volunteers are needed and warmly welcomed.

About the Junaluska Neighborhood:

Boone’s historically black community, Junaluska, has a unique and continuous history dating back to the mid-late 1800’s, with descendents of many of its original families still living in the neighborhood today. Although this community, located near downtown Boone, dates from the nineteenth century, some Boone and Watauga County residents remain unaware of its presence.

Junaluska was settled by an estimated fifteen original black families, with many descendents of those families still residing there. In earlier times, the Junaluska area was known simply as “The Hill” and “The Mountain.” The neighborhood, which shares a partial boundary with the Watauga County Public Library, was home to 103 people in the year 1900.

In the early twentieth century, the population grew with the influx of black residents from elsewhere in the county. They were attracted to the consolidated black school established in Junaluska by the county. In its heyday, the neighborhood had its own businesses, churches, social gathering places and school–quite literally, a “village within a village.”

Today there is new life evident, with a vibrant church community, a newly formed neighborhood improvement Association and an ambitious history-gathering effort: the Junaluska History Project.

The mission of the Junaluska History Project is to assist interested residents of Junaluska in defining, preserving and sharing the important history and culture of their mountain community and its origins.

The community is intent upon preserving its heritage and its sense of identity.

Junaluska has, over the years, become a multi-racial community where neighbors of different races live quietly side by side. Currently, there are some 42 black households with 97 residents. Others from the community who have moved outside Junaluska continue as active and regular participants in the Boone Mennonite Brethren Church and in community life.