Shake Rag Fest aims to preserve African American history with celebration

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) — The once-thriving Shake Rag District lives on in the memory of many.

The community became home to middle-class African American residents, growing after the Civil War and into the 20th century.

“That’s why we have the Shake Rag Festival, so although it’s a festival with vendors, and you’re going to hear music, the real truth is about our freedom, something we’re still fighting for today. “, says Chris Page, owner of Shake Rag Barbershop.

Although today the Shake Rag District has been replaced by medical buildings that continue to expand, the memory of a once thriving African American community lives on in history.

“Similar to Juneteenth, August 8th is the celebration of freedom, it’s where the Western Kentucky area discovered the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. So it’s just a way for us to come together and to celebrate freedom together,” adds Shake Rag Fest organizer Shalana Page.

“This is one of the places where I first got my hair cut, this is where my mother raised me until I went to live with my father, this is where that we were told about the predominant black businesses they had at the time, especially during segregation,” Chris Page also explains.

Now, in an effort to preserve the rich history, Shalana Page is hosting a Shake Rag Fest, to celebrate and commemorate.

“The Shake Rag Fest is about freedom not only after American freedom, but it’s our freedom and our enslavement of slavery, not only those who were enslaved, but also those who were enslaved” , said Chris Page.

Page talked about what you can expect at the festival.

“I will have small traders installed in the streets, we will also have food trucks. This year I have Jimmy Church Band coming to play so everyone can’t wait to hear it,” Shalana added.

The festival is at 4 p.m. at 415 E. 3rd Street.

Copyright 2022 WBKO. All rights reserved.

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