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Monday, March 04, 2024

Gainesville Mayor encourages community to celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth New York

A couple walks near people marching near Seneca Village, historically a 19th-century settlement of mostly African American landowners within present day Central Park, during a Juneteenth celebration Friday, June 19, 2020, in New York. Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free 155 years ago. Now, with support growing for the racial justice movement, 2020 may be remembered as the year the holiday reached a new level of recognition. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe encouraged the community to join him in celebration of Juneteenth in a Friday proclamation.

Juneteenth, which Poe referred to as Jubilee Day or Our Second Independence Day, celebrates the emancipation of all enslaved people in the U.S. Union troops arrived in Galveston and freed Texas’ 250,000 enslaved people on June 19, 1865, the proclamation said.

The celebration began a year later when freed Black men and women in Texas organized Jubilee Day, the proclamation said. The Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect Jan. 1, 1863, didn’t instantly free people because it only applied to areas under Union control. Slavery existed in the Confederate states, such as Texas, until Union forces arrived.

Gov. Ron DeSantis also issued a proclamation Friday in which he said Juneteenth is an opportunity to honor the Declaration of Independence and celebrate the contributions of African Americans.

Poe said he asks the community to use the celebration to learn from the past, acknowledge injustices and work toward an equitable future.

Contact Grethel at gaguila@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @GrethelAguila.

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