Alexandria residents celebrate Juneteenth

Miss Juneteenth and her court wave to the crowd

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

Across the nation, African-Americans are celebrating Juneteenth - June 19th - as the day the Emancipation Proclamation was read in Texas, making it the last state to read the document to slaves.

"I taught the kids a little bit about drumming and about how before Juneteent and the Emancipation Proclamation there was a time when it was illegal for black people to own a drum", Gaddy said.

It's a day to celebrate African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging self-development and respect for all cultures.

Following a parade, residents filled the park for food, music and a auto show.

Fathers, grandfathers and father figures received gold crowns shortly after the parade because Wright said she wanted the men to "remember that they're kings, not only for today but from this point on".

"This isn't the first Juneteenth event in Altus, but there hasn't been one in a while", Filer said.

A Galveston native, Hayes Turner described the scene in an essay, "the 19th of June wasn't the exact day the Negro was freed".

"We get to come out and see great festivities".

The occasion has been marked, in recent years, by the issuance of presidential statements every year on June 19th. And celebrations today continue as we reflect on opportunities afforded to generation after generation because of the events of that day. "Be it African American, be it Mexican American, but American and to enjoy that freedom".

"The reinforcement of showing the inhumane things people do to each other. I think if we just keep that in mind and stand together and stand strong we can survive these very hard times we're going through now", Billy Gordon, who represents the Buffalo Soldier Association, said.

The free event was sponsored locally by Wegmans, Chemung Canal Trust Company, Black Technology Network at Corning Incorporated, and Elmira Business Institute as well as by the NAACP.

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