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Although the Juneteenth was celebrated long before it became a federal holiday, this year it was the cause of major celebrations across the country.
Krystie Lee Yandoli
Posted on Jun 19, 2021 at 6:27 pm ET
A young girl waves an African American flag during Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth in Times Square on June 19, 2021 in New York City.
After years of campaigning for Juneteenth to be a national holiday, Juneteenth became National Independence Day on Officially signed Thursday by President Joe Biden. The holiday honors June 19, 1865, the day in history when blacks in Galveston, Texas were told they were no longer enslaved nearly three years after President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation of emancipation.
Although the Juneteenth was celebrated long before it was declared a federal holiday, this year it was the occasion for widespread celebrations in the United States.
In Brooklyn, New York, people gathered to unveil a statue of George Floyd, including his Brother Terrence Floyd and the rapper Papoose.
Terrence Floyd (center in a gray shirt) with others during the unveiling of the George Floyd statue in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City.
Opal Lee, a 94 -year-old Texas resident who has long been committed to making Juneteenth a federal holiday celebrated this milestone by walking 2.5 miles on Saturday in her hometown of Fort Worth, Texas.
Lees 2 ,5 miles long walk symbolizes the two and a half years it took the enslaved people of Texas to learn that they were freed after the end of the Civil War. In 2016, Lee, known as the « Grandmother of Juneteenth, » even went from Fort Worth to Washington, DC to raise awareness for Juneteenth.
Opal Lee walks during the first nationally recognized holiday in June on Saturday, June 19, 2021, toward downtown Fort Worth, Texas.
“I have so many different emotions, all of them gurgling in here. I don’t know what to call them all. I am so glad to know that we suddenly have a juneteenth. It’s not a Texas thing or a black thing. It’s an American thing, « Lee told CBS when she learned that Congress passed a bill that recognizes Juniteenth as a holiday.
» We could take a breather, but we have all these differences, that we need to address, and I mean everyone. As long as we have the momentum, I hope we can do some of that. We can have an America if we try, « she said.
Lee was also invited to the White House Thursday to watch President Biden sign a law making June 10 a federal holiday.
In Washington, DC, others gathered in Black Lives Matter Plaza to celebrate the new federal holiday, including a newlyweds dancing in the midst of the gathering.
A newlyweds dancing as they walk past people who are the Celebrate Juneteenth at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, DC.
In Galveston, Texas, the city where Juneteenth originated in 1865, spectators watched a parade from a decorated house.
A Black Live’s Matter banner is seen on the back of a pickup truck during the Juneteenth Parade in Galveston, Texas.
People held a ceremony and musical performance at St. Augustine Catholic Church in New Orleans.A ceremony at the G The unknown slave’s rab at St. Augustine Church comprised traditional Indian black masking drums and tambourines in honor of #Juneteenth.
A BuzzFeed News research conducted in conjunction with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents, that the government didn’t want to see.
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