CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
That historic date was observed today in Chattanooga.
Local residents remembered that the event happened two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and weeks after the war had ended.
Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the slaves were now free.
Ricardo Morris is the CEO of Chattanooga Festival of Black Arts and Ideas.
” as a country, as an America, as a United States we have the 4th of July; the Declaration of Independence that we celebrate in this country. But in reality… there were still slaves. We were not free. We were not citizens. We were not a part of that Declaration of Independence. For us June 19 (Juneteenth) would be where we would celebrate our complete liberation… on paper from bondage, from slavery here in the United States.”
Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day.