African-American freedoms, cultures center of Juneteenth Celebration

Tariah Horton and the J's Diamonds dance troupe perform during the Juneteenth parade in East Austin on Saturday

Tariah Horton and the J's Diamonds dance troupe perform during the Juneteenth parade in East Austin on Saturday. Jorge Sanhueza Lyon KUT

"People (are) coming in from all directions to celebrate the 19th of June", Sessions said.

Making Extraordinary Men, a new mentorship program for middle and high school students in St. Joseph started two months ago, and had a booth at Juneteenth to recruit more mentors and mentees.

Juneteenth is a celebrated - Independence Day for African Americans because slaves were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation on June 19, 1863. Even without national recognition, though, Juneteenth is a fully fledged holiday, complete with a traditional menu.

"We would just like them to learn the things that we went through so we could be aware".

While President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 is recognized as the declaration that freed USA slaves, Confederate states didn't recognize the Union decree.

Organizers say more than 200 people attended a prayer breakfast Monday in Galveston at the Ashton Villa, site of the city's Juneteenth monument.

Now, many cities and towns throughout the country devote the day to celebrating black culture and history, and Vallejo is no different.

"The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order", the website states.

Over the next few years, African-American populations across Texas collected money to buy property dedicated to Juneteenth celebrations.

"We see this as a time when we really understood our freedom, what it meant to be fully whole".

Coffee Wright took it upon herself to organize the event for a second year because she thinks it's that important.

Though the Civil War had ended, many African-Americans remained enslaved in Texas until the US military arrived. The news was met with both shock and jubilation, and from that day forth, the day was marked with celebration and reflection. "Be it African American, be it Mexican American, but American and to enjoy that freedom".

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