LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) – Hundreds gathered on the streets in Longview to celebrate the new federal holiday Juneteenth.
Back in 1963, President Abraham Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation which freed slaves all across America, however things were different in Texas.
While slaves were set free across the United States, slaves in Texas did not find out they were free until two years later.
Newly freed African Americans faced backlash after slavery, enduring extreme racial violence despite the pain and suffering and one of the ways they overcame that was celebrating the fact they were free.
Now more than 150 years later, their descendants are doing the same thing.
“We need to know the history. we need to know lots of history about the people that paved the way for us to even have this history,” Shelica Daniels, a Longview resident said.
Longview residents honored their ancestors history by marching from Foster Middle, along Martin Luther King Boulevard to Brouthon Park.
“If you don’t know your history, then you won’t know where you’re coming from and you’ll forget that history,” Yvonne Wheeler, a Marshall resident said.
The parade was held so people would not forget no matter what age they were, young and old and were able to embrace their rich background.
“It’s not just a history of black people, it not just a history of us. it’s the history of America and we are apart of America, and we’ll always be here,” Wheeler said.
Those who attended the event said they want to encourage people to not just come together during the holidays, but on a more consistent basis to strengthen unity throughout the community.