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Eugene high school senior crowned National Miss Juneteenth

Photo provided by Aceia Spade.
Juneteenth event.
Aceia Spade in Tulsa, Ok. for this year's National Juneteenth Pageant, where she was crowned National Miss Juneteenth.

A Eugene high school student has recently been declared National Miss Juneteenth at an event in Oklahoma. The win comes amidst two major milestones for the observance.

17-year-old Aceia Spade was declared Miss Juneteenth Oregon in 2019, but was asked to hold the title until the program could resume after COVID delayed it a couple years. The Churchill High School senior was declared the national winner at a Tulsa ceremony this October, in the same year Juneteenth was made a state holiday in Oregon, and a federal holiday.

Spade says she signed up for the pageant to promote more knowledge of Juneteenth, which marks the end of slavery in the United States.

Photo provided by Aceia Spade.
Spade while Miss Juneteenth Oregon.

“It’s a day of freedom, it’s a celebration," Spade told KLCC. "And nobody’s saying everyone in the world has to throw a celebration or even a parade for Juneteenth. But the goal is to even acknowledge it. Because nobody’s going to ask you what the Fourth of July is.”

The first Juneteenth was observed in Galveston, Texas in 1865.

The pageant is not a traditional beauty pageant, but rather one that recognizes achievement, community service, Black empowerment, and history. Its goal is to help send more African American women to college.

Spade says she’ll study law at the University of Oregon, then launch a non-profit law firm to help wrongfully convicted inmates on death row.
Copyright @2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.