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Published: Fri, June 23, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Juneteenth celebrated in Sioux City Saturday

Juneteenth celebrated in Sioux City Saturday

Most slaves had no idea that the president had freed them years before, and their owners often waited until the year's harvest had been collected, or even longer, to inform their slaves that they were no longer property. It was purchased for $800 in 1872 by a group of former enslaved African Americans as a gathering place to celebrate freedom.

It was on June 19, 1865 when Union troops finally arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War was over. As kids played in a colorful bounce house nearby, Smith said it's important to teach people the important history of Juneteenth at a young age.

Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day.

On this day in 1965, the news that slavery had been abolished reached Texas two years after President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves.

In February, Trump was skewered on social media and on late night TV after he delivered a rambling speech in honor of Black History Month, confusingly calling the late Frederick Douglass "an example of somebody who's done an awesome job and is being recognized more and more, I notice". In it, African-American men, women, and children crowd around a single pocket watch, waiting for the clock to strike midnight and the Emancipation Proclamation to take effect.

The belief that the slaves were freed at once and became citizens is all too popular - newly freed slaves did not officially become American citizens until the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868. But that's the day they told them that they was free ... The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They can have people around that they can look up.

The day has been celebrated ever since.

"Juneteenth is a celebration of the evolution of our country to a more ideal union", said Collins, a business owner and board member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. By January 1, 1980 Juneteenth became an official state holiday in Texas.

This year especially, Juneteenth should serve as a reminder that the struggle for equality is far from over.

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