KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — On Friday, the nation commemorated Juneteenth, the day the emancipation proclamation arrived in Galveston Texas in 1865.
Here in Knoxville, thousands gathered at Caswell Park for the Juneteenth Freedom Rally to celebrate liberation, progress and change.
Mayor Indya Kincannon made an appearance saying she was pleased to see the display of unity.
“I’m really pleased to see so many people out here celebrating the end of slavery but still recognizing that we still have a lot of work to do to end racism.” Kincannon said.
Juneteenth has been celebrated in the past, mainly in Texas, but only in the last few years has it become widely acknowledged. For many, this year was their first time hearing about the holiday, let alone celebrating it.
“I didn’t know about Juneteenth until somebody told me about it a few weeks ago. and I’m just happy to be another body to be apart of the physical manifestation of the solidarity that we’re here to show today,” Jimmy Russell, an attendee of the rally, said.
The celebration was also an opportunity to teach. Jamal Johnson brought his two young children so that they would grow up knowing about Juneteenth.
“Teach them just the history, where it came from, teaching them the people who were involved in it and like I said, what to look forward to in the future,” Johnson said.
The rally didn’t stop at just a celebration. Several booths with helpful resources for the community made it a celebration with a purpose. There were booths helping people register to vote, information about COVID-19 testing, and information to local physicians and mental health services in the area.
Organizers say this Knoxville Juneteenth celebration is just the first of many.
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