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Many celebrate liberty at Tyler Juneteenth Freedom Parade

Updated: Jun. 19, 2021 at 5:00 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - For more than 30 years, the Juneteenth Freedom Parade has taken place in the city of Tyler. It’s a celebration that is familiar to the citizens of Tyler and a day for good times for those in the black community.

“We have been celebrating Juneteenth like it was a federal holiday,” said Derrick Choice, who does public relations for the Juneteenth Association of Tyler.

The Texas holiday that celebrates the ending of slavery for all African American Texans has now been officially named a federal one. On Saturday, education and joy were on full display on Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. With the federal announcement, some are hopeful that the national acknowledgment can help educate others outside the state of Texas.

“The fact that our president and Congress saw fit to make it a federal, a national holiday, it’s exciting to know that dark period in our history is now being recognized as a celebration of freedom,” Choice said.

Juneteenth being nationally recognized is something Verdell Ellison never thought she would see happen. Ellison has been to many Juneteenth celebrations over the years, and she is amazed at how big the celebration has gotten in Tyler.

“I don’t think I ever thought it would get this big. I never thought I would ever live to see it get this big, but I knew sooner than later it had to come,” Ellison said.

Even with all the fun and good times, the holiday still serves as a reminder to many like William Fields, who was in attendance. Fields said he sees this celebration as a reminder that not everyone in America was free not too long ago.

“It is letting us know that sometimes you can have freedom, but if you aren’t allowed to be free then you are still in slavery or bondage,” Field said.

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