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Celebrating St. Paul history on Juneteenth

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

This year’s Juneteenth Celebration is focused on inspiration, education, hope, and achievement. CNN legal analyst and Rondo native Laura Coates is the featured speaker. Rondo Center Operations Manager Linda Cobb says the festivities will highlight people who have been inspired by Rondo, and who are now inspiring the community.

“We're really excited about just the community involved and getting people together, rubbing shoulders, having conversation,” she said.

The Rondo Center for Diverse Expression was established in 2019 to preserve the history and spirit of St. Paul’s first African American neighborhood for future generations.

“Black people have been in Rondo since the late 1800's, had a very working-class, great culture, lots of social life, lots of churches and spiritual life,” explained Cobb, “and that was devastated in the 60’s when US-94 came through and over 900 families were displaced.”

The Rondo Center is home to a commemorative plaza honoring the neighborhood’s contributions to St. Paul. Cobb says she hopes the event will draw lots of young people. Cobb says it’s important for them to know their history:

“Traditionally Rondo has been thought of as a historical group of people or society, but we really want to reach out to the youth,” she stressed. “There are so many young people that live in St Paul that do not know the history of Rondo and do not know about Rondo.”

Cobb says young people often come by the plaza to ask lots of questions and later even want to volunteer.

“Sometimes it stimulates them to go home and talk to their grandmothers and grandfathers, their aunts and uncles, to find out what life was like here.”

The Rondo Center’s Juneteenth Celebration takes place Sunday from Noon to 6pm, and features live performances by both TU Dance and Walker West Music Academy.

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