Celebrating Juneteenth in Watertown

Celebrating Juneteenth in Watertown

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) – The colors of the Pan-African flag went up at Watertown City Hall on Wednesday in celebration of Juneteenth.

Bianca Ellis says celebrating the end of slavery in a community like Watertown means a lot.

“To me, it (the Juneteenth celebration) means an opportunity for our country to really level with the history, all of the history,” she said.

Watertown Mayor Sarah Pierce declared Wednesday as Juneteenth Day in the city.

Clara Anderson, who was on hand for the flag-raising, says it feels great to see many celebrate Freedom Day.

“It is nothing really new to us, but it is just a day of celebration that they have given to the whole world to see, not just Black America,” she said.

Anderson was raised in Mississippi. She says even after the end of slavery, Black people still endure a lot of injustices, but she feels that progress has been made.

“It is different. We feel more freedom. We feel more togetherness. You know, we just do things together that we usually didn’t do,” she said.

Although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, it did not mean freedom for all.

Juneteenth specifically refers to June 19, 1865, when 250,000 slaves in Texas were freed. Meanwhile, in some states, people were still enslaved after Juneteenth.

Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021.

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