Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of slaves in the United States, and the Hub City's celebration culminated Saturday with a parade through the streets of East Lubbock.
Lubbock's Juneteenth parade had it all. "We didn't realize it was going to be this many, but it's wonderful," said Juneteenth Committee Member Anesha Majeed. From candy, to music, Saturday was for celebrating.
"When General Granger came to the shores of Galveston and told the Texan slaves that they were free, they celebrated," said Majeed. Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston on June 19, 1865. He brought the news that all slaves were free, but President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation became official in January 1863.
"In other words our ancestors here in Texas were left in the dark for two years," said Majeed. Many reason are rumored to have caused the delay, but today, Juneteenth emphasizes education and achievement. Organizers say it's a time for reflection and rejoicing.
Quentin Bates is 79-years-old, and tells us he's taken part in Juneteenth activities for almost all of those years. "Well, it means a lot to me," said Bates. While youngsters enjoy the simpler parts of the celebration. "They throw candy," said one young candy collector. Organizers know they'll grow to appreciate the more significant meaning. "Your freedom is everything," said Majeed.
In 1980, Juneteenth became an official state holiday here in Texas. State Representative Al Edwards pushed that bill through the legislature, and it's successful passage made Juneteenth the first emancipation celebration granted official state recognition.
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