Parades, street festivals and speeches mark Juneteenth across US
Published: Jun 20, 2022 06:31 PM
With street parties, the trumpets and drums of marching bands, speeches and a few political rallies, people across the US marked Juneteenth during the weekend, a jubilee commemorating the end of the legal enslavement of black Americans.

Events started on Friday and continued through Sunday featuring concerts at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, freedom walks in Galveston, Texas, and jazz music in New York City's Harlem neighborhood.

"This is America's holiday, not just African-Americans' holiday," said Gerald Griggs, the Georgia state president of the NAACP civil rights organization. "It's the true Independence Day, the day when all Americans were free."

Juneteenth, or June 19th, marks the day in 1865 when a Union general informed a group of enslaved people in Texas that they were free. President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation became effective in 1863, during the Civil War, but could not be implemented ­until Union troops wrested areas from Confederate control.

In 2021, President Joe Biden made Juneteenth a federally recognized holiday, and most states and many companies give it recognition and hold celebrations.

In a proclamation on Friday, Biden remarked on the 10 people slain in a racist mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, on May 14.

"We must stand together against white ­supremacy and show that bigotry and hate have no safe harbor in America," the proclamation said.

On Sunday in Danbury, Connecticut, reveler and festival organizer Jacqueline Elam, said that making Juneteenth a federal holiday has elevated awareness of an important historical marker that for years has been celebrated via cookouts, parades and other social events.