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Parades, picnics and history lessons marked the June 19 celebrations in the United States, a day that took on even greater significance after Congress and President Joe Biden created a federal holiday for commemorate the end of slavery.
A new national holiday was “really great. It’s starting to recognize the African-American experience, ”said Detroit artist Hubert Massey, 63. “But we still have a long way to go. “In Detroit, which is 80% black, students at University Prep Art & Design High School dodged the rain to repaint Massey’s message, “Power to the People,” which premiered last year on downtown Woodward Avenue. -city.
The “o” in “Power” was a red fist in memory of George Floyd and other victims of excessive police force, Massey said.
“We did the original,” said Olivia Jones, 15, leaning on a long paint roller. “It’s important that we come back and share that same energy. “
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers announced freedom to enslaved blacks in Galveston, Texas – two months after the Confederacy surrendered during the Civil War and about 2.5 years after the proclamation emancipation that freed slaves in the Southern States. .
Biden on Thursday signed a bill creating the National Independence Day of June. Since June 19 fell on a Saturday this year, the US government observed the holiday on Friday.
At least nine states have it legally designated as an official paid holiday, all but one acting after Floyd, a black man, was killed in Minneapolis by a police officer in May 2020.
WATCH | June 15 becomes a federal holiday:
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