WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Juneteenth is known as a day of freedom. It signifies the enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of slavery more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued it.

Wichita State University Professor Dr. Kevin Harrison says Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day.

“We have to uplift the legacies of those people that fought for us to even have a Juneteenth celebration,” said Dr. Harrison.

He says not enough people know about the annual celebration marking the end of slavery after the Civil War. The events are an opportunity for teaching history and becoming more knowledgeable about the Black culture celebrated by African Americans since the late 1800s.

“When you’re celebrating Juneteenth, you celebrate everything from the 360-degree basketball dunk to hip hop music, jazz, blues, R&B, to open heart surgery to the mathematics that took the man to the moon and back,” said Dr. Harrison.

For business owners like Felicia Thompson, who owns 2 Beatz Boutique, it’s an opportunity to expand her downtown Wichita boutique while encouraging all communities to come together, promoting unity and inclusion.

“It’s something that will continue to grow and will continue to push to be able to be celebrated and support and love on one another but other communities coming in and supporting with their time, their gifts, their dollars and everything,” said Thompson.

Brad Richards, the education manager of The Kansas African American Museum, hopes the celebration continues beyond the holiday to show the strength of the Black community.

“Pulling together our resources to show, you know, we as a people can do things to promote better community and the significance of a holiday like Juneteenth,” said Richards.

Juneteenth celebrations continue this weekend.