MARSHALL, Texas (KETK) – On Thursday, President Joe Biden gave final approval to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. While that happened, conversations about the holiday and slavery occurred here in East Texas.

Earlier Thursday, a film highlighting slavery in Harrison County was shown in Marshall. The movie called “Finding Mirriam” was created by Dallas-based filmmaker and activist Eric Williams.

“I’m not going to hold the punches back in the film to show you the brutality that occurred in slavery here in Texas,” Williams said.

According to his website, the movie is a full-length POV documentary detailing his slave ancestry in the area.

After the showing in Marshall, Williams travelled to Tyler, meeting people downtown at the square to hear their own personal reviews of the film and talk about the impact of Juneteenth on the country.

“I think it’s very important that our younger generation, our offspring know and understand the struggles our ancestors went through,” Tyler city councilor Shirley McKellar said.

Williams’ film touches on slavery in East Texas and its impact even today.

The Thursday screening comes just days before Juneteenth, but on the same day that it was made a federal holiday in the U.S.

Juneteenth has been a holiday in several states, including Texas, for years. It is the newest federal holiday created in almost 40 years. The last one was Martin Luther King Jr. day back in 1983.

You can learn more about “Finding Mirriam” by visiting