W hether you call it Freedom Day, Emancipation day, or Juneteenth, it was clear today that people were celebrating freedom today in Syracuse's Clinton Square for Juneteenth. The holiday commemorates the freeing of slaves in Texas who remained enslaved until 1865. Today's event also included a parade earlier in the day and featured local bands and dance troupes.
Jane Russell was out in Syracuse today celebrating her heritage. " We are free and we are free first of all to pray and it's about all mankind , having peace with all mankind ," says Russell.
Dr. Rick Wright knows how important today is to him, while he continued his role as master of ceremonies. "This is a day of jubilation, a day of freedom for African-Americans in America," says Wright.
In June 1862 Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation into law which then took effect the next year. It wasn't until after the civil war ended that the last group of slaves found out about this historical document which freed them from slavery, on June 19, 1865.
Bridget McCarthy is on the Board with Juneteenth. " For them , until they got the news it was just life as usual as harsh as that may have been working in the fields and everything else ," says McCarthy.
Kelvin Miller was one of of the hundreds who came out earlier on Saturday. "If you look at 1865, or wherever, I think their sense of history was in the future. In other words what I think they were doing was they were validating our lives and I think that's the most important thing is we have to remember them to validate their lives. They understood that they wouldn't have the freedoms that we have at this point," says Miller.