Thousands Celebrate Juneteenth To Observe The End Of Slavery

In Tyler, thousands came out to remember the day Texans got word of the end of slavery.  The wet weather today couldn't damper the spirits of the Juneteenth festivities.

"Festivities are going to go on," said Garrett Choice, Tyler resident.  "A little water won't hurt nobody. "   Hundreds of people lined the street today to celebrate Juneteenth.

"It's a day that all the blacks found out the slaves were free," said Valencia Irwin, parade goer.

"To me it means a celebration of love, kindness and family," said Choice. It was June 19th, 1865 when word reached Galveston that slavery in the United States had been abolished. The announcement came two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

"What we're trying to do is make sure that all of the people around here right now know what happened, or what brought this day about," said Jack Garrett, President of Juneteenth Association of Tyler.  "A lot of our young people don't really know. It's more of a teaching and learning deal and a celebration."   The Juneteenth Association of Tyler says it hopes people leave appreciating what our forefathers did for our country.

"They can walk away knowing a little bit more about what happened that brings us to where we are today, and that is everybody working hand in hand together," said Garrett.     Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated observance of the ending of slavery.   The festivities continue tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., there will be a Gospel Music Celebration in St. Louis Park. That's located on Highway 155.

Molly Reuter, reporting.