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Mtn. Talk: Juneteenth in Big Stone Gap

Mtn. Talk: Juneteenth in Big Stone Gap

In this episode WMMT’s Katie Myers travels to Big Stone Gap, Virginia for the small Appalachian town’s first-ever Juneteenth celebration, taking place on June 19.

Juneteenth is a historically Black holiday dating back to 1865, the year Black people in the United States were emancipated from slavery. The news didn’t travel everywhere at the same rate, and Juneteenth marks the day it reached many people in the deep South. This year, the Biden administration recognized Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

Juneteenth in Big Stone Gap was a big celebration.  The day was full of speeches, music, and storytelling from Big Stone Gap community members, many of whom can recall a time when the town was segregated, about what this celebration means to them – about how far we’ve all come, and how far we have to go.

In this piece, you’ll hear from multiple community members and attendants, including: event organizers Josh Outsey, Terran Outsey, and Mekyah Davis; Alona Norwood, a community archivist with regional media project Black in Appalachia; Rashida Hall, a BSG resident and speaker; Jimmy Mitchell, a lifelong Big Stone Gap community member and former prison chaplain; and Adam Harris and George Smith of Smokey’s Sugar Shack Barbecue. You’ll also hear clips of music from the event, including artists Felicia Outsey, C.J. Colson, and Geonoah Davis.