Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Fort Worth’s Juneteenth Celebration At Hotel Dryce Celebrates Black History And Its Community

Juneteenth is set to be celebrated in grand fashion across North Texas this Monday. Thousands will gather for cookouts, live music performances, and enlightening history lessons that delve deep into the holiday’s Texan roots.

In 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Texas, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, to declare the freedom of those still in bondage. In a momentous move last year, President Joe Biden signed Juneteenth into effect, officially recognizing it as a federal holiday.

Fort Worth will host one such celebration at Hotel Dryce, a boutique hotel owned by Jonathan Morris. Morris perceives this event as an opportunity to commemorate history and shed light on the remarkable contributions of Opal Lee, affectionately known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth.”

Lee, a Fort Worth resident for the past 86 years, experienced the burning down of her family home by white rioters on June 19, 1939. However, she rose above the ashes and dedicated her life to teaching, community organizing, and activism. At the remarkable age of 90, she began an annual 2.5-mile march on Juneteenth. The duration of the march symbolizes the years that transpired after the Emancipation Proclamation before all enslaved individuals were finally liberated. The march, undertaken as part of her tireless campaign to promote Juneteenth beyond the borders of Texas, has garnered tremendous support and attention.

Photo Credit: Hotel Dryce

Juneteenth’s Legacy Ties To Fort Worth

For Morris, the significance of Juneteenth and Opal Lee’s lifelong fight cannot be overstated. He expresses gratitude for witnessing Lee’s dream come to fruition in her twilight years. Morris shares, “We’re able to celebrate Juneteenth in a way that is nationally recognized now. At Hotel Dryce, we want to be part of helping tell that story in a more broad way.”

The hotel, situated in Fort Worth’s Cultural District, has been operational for almost two years. Morris and business partner, Allen Mederos, established the venture after lamenting the absence of accommodations that reflected their travel preferences. Their vision has been brought to life through the talents of local artists, creators, and artisans.

Hotel Dryce has proven to be an artistic hub since its opening. The property has hosted numerous events in its ever-evolving themed space, from vinyl nights to silent book club meet-ups. This year, the hotel will hold its inaugural Juneteenth event, highlighting Black vendors and locally-owned businesses. Morris, who himself is Black, aims to celebrate “Black culture, Black culture in Fort Worth, and Black entrepreneurship.”

Photo Credit: Hotel Dryce

What To Expect At Hotel Dryce’s Juneteenth Celebration

Hotel Dryce’s Juneteenth festivities will feature vendors Reggie and Cedric Robinson of Lil Boy Blue BBQ. Known for its mouthwatering grilled offerings, try the smoked brisket, pulled pork, or cracked black pepper sausage. Paying homage to their loving grandfather, Reggie and Cedric prioritize serving with love and celebrating the inclusivity of warmly welcoming all individuals with African roots.

Talented confectioner Terrell Johnson, the creative mind behind SNAP Pastries, will make his Hotel Dryce debut with a signature cupcake. The signature sweet will be infused with simple syrup and GO3 vodka, in addition to an assortment of other cupcakes, cookies, and cake pops. Johnson looks forward to the educational aspect of the event and sharing the holiday’s significance with his cherished community. He emphasizes the deep meaning of Juneteenth for the Black community, recognizing that the appreciation may not be fully understood by those outside of the culture.


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