Juneteenth festivities underway in Galveston
GALVESTON, TX (KTRK) -- Wednesday is the 148th anniversary of Juneteenth, the day Texas slaves learned of their freedom, and the holiday is being celebrated in earnest this weekend in the very place where that belated announcement was made.
In Galveston, Saturday was a day for fun, celebration and giving thanks.
"Takes me back and makes me thank God for the blessings I'm having now," Galveston resident Lola Johnson said.
The annual Juneteenth Parade and African-American Festival drew crowds of people on Saturday wanting to pay homage to their ancestors.
"Keeping the day alive because it's representing black people and what Juneteenth is all about," said Mark Pickett with NAACP.
It was, after all, in Galveston on June 19, 1865, that Texas slaves first learned of the Emancipation Proclamation -- two years after it was signed to free them.
"I think it's very important, very vital that we celebrate and recognize that in this location in the city of Galveston," Byron Williams with Omega Psi Phi fraternity said.
It's a celebration that seems to grow each year, drawing people in from throughout southeast Texas who are anxious to have fun and honor their past.
"Glad to see Houston out here and other cities. And that's what we want," James Cosley with the Galveston African-American Museum said. "We want other cities to come out and enjoy our festivities."
If you missed Saturday, there are more festivities planned through Wednesday, including the 34th annual Al Edwards Emancipation Proclamation Reading and Prayer Breakfast at Ashton Villa on Broadway at 8:30am Sunday.
And Houston held its own celebration Saturday. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee was the grand marshal for this year's Juneteenth parade in southeast Houston.
She led the parade from Texas Southern University to Emancipation Park, where families listened to music and enjoyed other activities.
Emancipation Park got its name in 1872 as a home for local Juneteenth celebrations and has been a place to honor the holiday ever since.
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