Gary celebrates end of slavery with Juneteenth event

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On June 19, 1865, the news of the end of the Civil War and President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation reached Galveston, Texas at the hands of Maj.

The Juneteenth Music Festival and parade in Denver, Colorado.

Local attorney Lloyd Fisher, wearing a colorful dashiki garment to the cultural event, described Juneteenth Day "as the African-American Fourth of July".

A couple of people race go-karts at the 2017 Juneteenth Celebration at the Weisser Park Youth Center on June 17, 2017.

Juneteenth or Freedom Day was celebrated in Sioux City. The news was delivered two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which became official January 1, 1863. "And my daddy told me that they whooped and hollered and bored holes in trees with augers and stopped it up with [gun] powder and light and that would be their blast for the celebration'".

This year's Juneteenth theme is "A Time to Heal, A Time to Unite".

Sutton says the community support over the years continues to grow. "Our ancestors died for our freedom". Smiling and blushing as she talked to a reporter, she said being picked to be the queen for such an important historical event was an honor.

"It's a family orientated event, and it's actually the biggest in the country", said Adriane Griffin, Juneteenth Day coordinator.

Though an award ceremony honoring community members for their involvement, service and longevity was held Friday night, Terrence Filer made a decision to forgo the air conditioned ceremony to help set up for Saturday's events. "We have plenty of children in this neighborhood, everywhere in Tyler", said resident Irene Sessions.

"Today symbolizes a lot, not just for the African American community, but for people of color as a whole". "You know it is one of those things that you have to keep it alive".

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