October 1, 2022

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Juneteenth commemorated across Texas cities with symbolic walks and celebrations

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Marking the end of slavery and originally founded in Texas, residents across the cities of Houston, Galveston and Fort Worth commemorated Juneteenth with symbolic walks, parades and celebrations over the weekend.

One of the driving forces for Juneteenth’s national recognition, 95-year-old Opal Lee, led her annual four-kilometre (2.5 miles) walk in Fort Worth on Saturday. The walk symbolized the two and a half years it took for word of the Emancipation Proclamation to reach enslaved Black people in Texas. Lee and her granddaughter, Dione Sims, led hundreds on the walk through the Texas summer heat.

“I expect us to walk these two and a half miles to symbolize June the 19th, 1865. The enslaved were just learning that they were free,” Lee said. “And I can just imagine how they felt after being in bondage for so long.”

Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, marks the day when Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which was signed two years earlier, was finally implemented in Texas, freeing enslaved people in that state on June 19, 1865. This year’s celebrations also marked the one-year anniversary of Juneteenth officially becoming a federal holiday.

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