Annual Black History and Multicultural Heritage Celebration in Guinda

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The 18th Annual Black History and Multicultural Heritage Celebration is Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Guinda Grange Hall from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.  The celebration offers music, dance, speakers and exhibits. Lunch will be provided. The event is free. Lunch will include grilled chicken and ribs donated by Cache Creek Casino. Guests are invited to bring a side dish to share. Music will be provided by one of the founders of the event Clarence Van Hook, along with a local youth Mariachi band. Cultural dance performances will include a Praise Dance and Native American Pomo Dancers. Speakers will include UCD Chancellor Gary May. Others will talk about “The Price of Being Born Black in America,” “Why?,” the Multicultural History of Capay Valley and other topics. The celebration is again organized by Van Hook, Judge Dave Reed, and a group of community volunteers.  The event includes an essay contest for high school seniors again this year with the topic of “Cultural History in Yolo County.” Prizes will be awarded to the winners at the event. The first place prize is $500. Exhibits will be presented by the Yolo County Historical Society, the Yolo County Archives and others. The event started 17 years ago as a black history celebration. It has evolved into a multicultural celebration recognizing other cultural contributions to our regional history on the second Saturday of February. In the late 1800s a community of blacks started and grew above the Capay Valley. According to capayvalley.com: “Black families moved to the hills above the Capay Valley in the 1890s to homestead. Green Berry Logan was the first and most prominent black homesteader to arrive. He brought his family from Dunnigan. There was musician/barber Charles Simpson who moved here with his wife and daughter. There were other black families, too. “They found the Guinda hills, at 1,200 feet, to be nirvana — a place where they could escape from oppression, own some land and make some money,” the website reports. “These weren’t urban dwellers. They came from the farmlands of Missouri and North Carolina. Their parents had been slaves.” “They were seeking paradise, and found it in this remote corner of Yolo County,” according to historical information. “Yet it wasn’t just black families in these hills attempting to eke out a living in land better fit for rattlesnakes than crops. There were white families, too. Black and white, they had one thing in common — they were poor. This would bind them forever.” Historical information indicates that George Hayes, one of the white homesteaders in the region said the “reason blacks congregated in the hills” was to grow crops in the fertile Capay Valley that lay below them. But that land was already spoken for by white homesteaders.” “There was nothing they could afford in the valley, so they went to the hills,” Hayes is recorded as saying. “They didn’t have whites telling them what to do up in the hills. But the white people who lived up there were just as poor as the black people. They didn’t have nothing but their hands to work with.” “For $1 an acre, most of the homesteaders bought plots of about 160 acres,” Hayes stated. “They helped each other on their farms, teaming up to build homes, cut wood, plant orchards, dig wells and build a school (Summit School) for their kids.” The Guinda Grange Hall is located at 16787 Forrest Ave., off Highway 16 about seven miles northwest of Cache Creek Casino.]]>

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