The Oregon Juneteenth celebration in 2011 was a great success and an empowering opportunity for Portland. Skanner publisher and civic leader Bernie Foster was the Grand Marshal for the Freedom Trail Parade that started at Martin Luther King Jr Blvd and ended at the festival grounds at Jefferson High School. Participants in the parade included Portland City firefighters at Station 14.

At the Juneteenth Festival there was music and dancing, fun and entertainment for the children, food vendors and more. The neighborhood and nonprofit booths filled the high school athletic field including the well-attended US Army Recruitment booth.

Another booth was the "Juneteenth History booth" staffed by volunteers from NW Historical Perspectives and Events who told visitors about the history of Juneteenth in America and about the fugitive slaves who moved to Portland in the mid-1860s despite the Oregon "Exclusion Laws" to join the ranks of Oregon pioneers.

As part of Oregon's Civil War Sesquicentennial focus, Frank from the "Juneteenth History booth" also spoke about another Oregon connection to the Civil War-- Daniel Drew, a veteran from the United States Colored Troops who is buried in one of Portland's pioneer cemeteries.

Over 15,000 veterans from the Civil War moved to Oregon after the war and are buried here. The Civil War 150th anniversary will inspire us to learn more about these heroes who chose to make Oregon their last resting place.

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