In February, 2015, The Press of Atlantic City published an article on the historical legacy of the African American community in Ocean City, New Jersey. In the article, Ocean City Historical Museum Board President Ken Cooper discussed the lack of inclusion of African Americans in the museum saying, "We realize black history is important in Ocean City. We are working on getting it together. It has taken some years. A lot of that older generation has passed on. We've lost some of that old history. And that's what we're trying not [to] do." Museum board members, city councilmembers, and community members all agree that more must be done in the efforts to preserve and promote the rich and lengthy history of this community.
To begin progress in this endeavor, we formed the Ocean City Juneteenth Organization (a registered New Jersey non-profit organization) to honor, maintain, and share the important history of Ocean City's African American community. The Board of Directors is made up of three former residents of Ocean City with strong and heartfelt ties to the community in which we were born and raised. We have held two annual Juneteenth Celebrations bringing the community together. In early 2018, we served as guest curators at the Ocean City Historical Museum for an exhibit - "The Seasons of Life: The African American Community in Ocean City" - to recognize the rich history of the Black community in Ocean City. And each December, we host a Holiday Drive and Day of Service to provide "care bags" and clothes to the less fortunate in our area.
It is our hope that our organization contributes to building a much needed tradition of honoring and giving back to our community.
Joshua Baker, Takiya Wilson, and Brittany
Founding Members, Board of Directors
Our first annual Juneteenth Celebration & Brunch was a huge success! The event was attended by more than 150 community members. Attendees were treated to local vendor wares, musical selections, a reading on the historical significance of Juneteenth, and clips from a documentary describing the rich history of the Black community in Ocean City and featuring interviews with our honorees and their families. Our second annual event - the Ocean City Family Reunion - was also a huge success! We had a cook-out, games, face-painting, bouncy houses, and Black owned business vendors. Stay tuned for our Third Annual Juneteenth Celebration and Brunch which will be held June 15th, 2019 at the Ocean City High School.
As we continue to plan for future events, we are asking for members of the Ocean City and Cape May County communities to help sponsor the the organization. All Juneteenth Celebration sponsors will be recognized in our program book to be distributed during the next event. Monetary or in-kind donations greater than $300 will be recognized on a Sponsors Banner displayed during the brunch. Checks may be written to Ocean City Juneteenth Organization. Donations may also be made via PayPal (account: email@example.com).
We also need lots of volunteers for the event - please let us know if you would like to help out!