'Juneteenth' Celebrates End of Slavery

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Saturday, June 19 marked the celebration that is known as Juneteenth -- the celebration of the abolition of slavery in the United States. It commemorates the date when many slaves in the Deep South learned of their freedom.

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. However, a large number of slaves never learned of their freedom at that time.

It was not until June 19, 1865, that Union forces led by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, were able to spread the word in Galveston, Texas, that all people of color were free.

One hundred and forty-five years later, many people in America and the rest of the world, continue to celebrate that historic day.

More than half of the states in the U.S. recognize Juneteenth as a holiday or a special day of recognition. Many feel it is important that all Americans - regardless of race and color - honor the event.

"It's very important, because we are God's children," said Charles Gorski, founder of Hampton Roads for Life. "Black, White, Latino, Filipino, it doesn't matter. Genesis 1:27 clearly says we're created in God's image."

"I think it's something we should all celebrate, because it is apart of our history, and it should be celebrated in all the states," said Linda Wallace of the Hampton Roads Pro-Life Coalition.

Dr. Alveda King, niece of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has been working to educate all Americans about Juneteenth.

"What we do on 'Juneteenth,' and we've been doing all this year and beginning last year, is to celebrate documentaries and projects that shed light on the plight of African Americans and the success and progress and the things we have accomplished," she said.

Proponents of the Juneteenth holiday say the celebration shares some of the same parallels with Independence Day in U.S. They say instead of being viewed as only an African American celebration, it should be regarded as an American celebration.

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