Grambling celebrates Juneteenth with a “Black Towns Matter” street mural dedication

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GRAMBLING, LA. (06/19/2020)– Grambling Mayor Edward Jones and the Grambling city council dedicated a “Black Towns Matter” street mural this morning. It’s part of a national effort by the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance.

Councilwoman Phyllis Miller says waiting until Juneteenth to dedicate the mural was fitting, as it highlights the relationship between emancipation and the beginnings of Grambling.

“But I never want to think of celebrations like this as being focused only on African Americans,” Miller said. “This is an American celebration, because African Americans’ story is an American story.”

Grambling’s story dates back to 1875. According to local historian, Reginald Owens, Grambling came into existence as a distinct African American community through the efforts of former slaves and their children.

“After the Emancipation Proclamation, they worked to build an independent community and fulfill the spirit of the American Dream,” Miller said.

The hard work of those before, built what is now home to almost 5,000 people. Grambling is known as one of the five oldest incorporated African American cities in America.

Miller says she hopes those three words will stand as a reminder of what it took to build Grambling and show just how strong Grambling is.

“So we can remind not only African Americans, but remind all Americans about what freedom really means and it has a deeper sense of meaning for African Americans because of the way our history in America began,” Miller said. “It’s a very different history from other people’s history.”

The mural can be found on King Street, in front of City Hall.

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