What is Juneteenth And Why Is It Celebrated?

Miss Juneteenth and her court wave to the crowd

Miss Juneteenth and her court wave to the crowd. Credit Jorge Sanhueza Lyon KUT

President Donald Trump released a statement honoring the celebrations saying, "Melania and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Juneteenth, a historic day recognizing the end of slavery..."

Saturday's celebration, originally slated to take place in Cook Park from 12 to 4 p.m., had to be moved inside the nearby Girls Inc. building because of rain.

Organizers hope the event will help educate the community about African-American history. This day is important to us because it was the ending of slavery, and it's important to the community because not too many people know about Juneteenth.

Wright paid for the crowns, and for much of the second annual Juneteenth celebration. Byron Baer, one of the sponsors of the bill that recognized Juneteenth in New Jersey. There are a lot of young people here [that] will probably ask what Juneteenth is, and there are people here that can explain that to them.

Slavery falls squarely into the category of history that is uncomfortable to talk about, made even more complicated by the fact that the US came in late to the abolition game.

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"We see this as a time when we really understood our freedom, what it meant to be fully whole". However, the word of freedom did not reach the Confederate state of Texas until 1965, two years later.

The blend of cultures is evident in the air, fragrant with burning incense and barbecue smoke mingling together, a sensory representation of African and African-American cultures.

"It's an important celebration for African Americans all over the country", said Ursula Davis, a professor at Bergen Community College, as a band played in the background.

The day has been celebrated ever since.

"I found it very empowering to be going to a historically black college", she said. "That we try to do something with it, try to cure it, try to fix it. Make life better for all".

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