U.S. celebrates Juneteenth

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR)– Today, the U.S. celebrates a day known for the end of slavery– it’s Juneteenth. The City of Roanoke is no different. This community commemorated Juneteenth last weekend. Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea says, “it’s great for our community because a lot of people don’t know about that {Juneteeth}. We should continue to educate our community.”

Juneteeth was originally celebrated on June 19, 1865, the day Union soldiers told enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War had ended and they were free–FREE from SLAVERY. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. “It’s a big day and it’s special. It’s part of black history and it should be celebrated,” says Mayor Lea. The community gathered in downtown Roanoke at Washington Park for fellowship, food, and fun; which is how the day of African-American independence is typically celebrated.

“It was a good time. It’s an opportunity to meet people, to learn, and to educate one another on many topics.” Groups talked about politics, education, and social justice for everyone. Mayor Lea says, he remembers skipping Juneteenth celebrations one year, but vows that will never happen again. “Juneteenth is too important to miss. It’s a welcoming environment to have meaningful discussions.”

Two and a half years after Juneteenth, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery altogether.

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