The Scotland community, here in Bethesda, holds a rich history that dates back many generations. The roots of this African American enclave can be traced to a time when racial segregation and discrimination were prevalent in the United States.
The Scotland community provided a safe haven for African American families who sought to establish a prosperous and supportive neighborhood. Despite facing various challenges and limited resources, the residents of Scotland built a tight-knit community where they could celebrate their culture, traditions, and history.
One of many significant events in the history of the Scotland community was the “Save Our Scotland” Campaign, launched in the 1960’s as a collaboration between residents and Joyce B. Siegel, a Bethesda resident who became an advocate for preservation of the community, as development was rapidly threatening to erase Scotland.
The heart of Scotland has long been recognized as the Scotland AME Zion Church on Seven Locks Road. The church was hand-built between 1915 and 1924 by its congregants, many of whom lived in the Scotland community. Unfortunately, during the summer of 2019, a flood damaged the church building beyond use.
Thankfully, Scotland, as well as the greater Bethesda community, has created an opportunity to collaborate once again in the rebuilding of the historic church. The Scotland Juneteenth Heritage Festival, with events beginning June 17th, continuing through June 19th, will see all net proceeds benefit rebuilding, and festival proceeds from future years earmarked for other African American Causes in the region.
Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced that the Civil War had ended, and all slaves were now free. In recent years, the significance of Juneteenth has gained increased recognition and importance throughout the United States.
The inaugural Juneteenth celebration in the Scotland community marks a significant milestone in its history and ours. It serves as a reminder of the community's strength and determination to preserve and honor their heritage. It is a testament to the profound impact that a united community can have in creating a brighter and more inclusive future for all.
Learn more about how you can support and attend the Scotland Juneteenth Heritage Festival HERE.
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