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Thousands celebrate Juneteenth
BEAUMONT - by Lauren Huet
Thousands celebrated the city's fifth annual Juneteenth Celebration at Tyrrell Park in Beaumont. On June 19th, 1865, about two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, news of the end of slavery reached Texas.
From 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, families and friends gathered to celebrate.
"Well we're out here to celebrate the Juneteenth festival and we're bringing the kids out," said Ambrose Horton, "have a good time, and just to mingle and everybody get together and be one big family for at least a day."
"We're celebrating as a family, and we go and play, and go get free stuff," said Horton's daughter, Kayla.
"A bouncy place, snow cones, popcorn and a lot of fun stuff," said another child, Journee Woodson.
Horton says today is about more than snow cones and fun.
"Well this celebration is the day that the slaves were released here in Texas, freed in Texas, so that was an important part of our history so we need to make sure our kids know," said Horton.
"Everybody needs to know their history, where they came from, and important events like Juneteenth," said Cory Long, who came to celebrate Juneteenth with his fraternity Omega Psi Phi. "Juneteenth is the day that enslaved people, African Americans, first realized that they were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation."
"The celebration of any person's freedom or any group's freedom is a celebration of freedom for everybody," said fraternity brother and Beaumont City Council Member Jamie Smith.
Smith says the Juneteenth celebration is a great family event.
"The city is giving away snow cones and popcorn to the kids," said Smith. "The moonwalk, jump stations and things like that are going on. And then later on we have the bands performing and we have vendors out here."
A fun way to celebrate while teaching younger generations about an important moment in history.
"We're making it fun for them to learn about it," said Horton.
"We invite anybody and everybody to come out and just have a great time," said Smith.