Rochester celebrates Juneteenth; flies flag for the first time

June 15, 2019 06:57 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester held a Juneteenth Festival and flew the official flag for the holiday on Saturday.

The holiday celebrates the effective end of slavery for millions of Americans.

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Although they had technically been free even earlier than the date the holiday celebrates.

"There's a popular misconception that on June 19, 1865, they found out they were free," said Simeon Banister, chair of the Greater Rochester Martin Luther King Jr Commission. "Actually, they knew that the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed. What happened on June 19 is the federal government finally came and enforced the Emancipation Proclamation, nearly two and a half years after it had been signed. And so this holiday celebrates the federal government taking action."

The festivities began with a parade and ended with music, family fun, and food at the Martin Luther King Park.

The Juneteenth flag was put up over the Rochester City Hall and will remain there until June 19.


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