Celebrations, Protests Mark Juneteenth In Philadelphia Area

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Although Philadelphia’s biggest Juneteenth parade and festival were canceled this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, several other celebrations popped up throughout the city on Friday as groups commemorated the date that enslaved African Americans were emancipated. Several marches were held to mark the day and protest racial discrimination.

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Among them was a gathering in Philadelphia of roughly 200 people, mostly black men dressed in black T-shirts, who marched peacefully down several city streets before concluding the event at a nearby park.

Meanwhile, many community and student-led groups held picnics or hosted other events — such as food drives— to promote freedom and community unity.

Philadelphia this week joined other cities that have designated Juneteenth as an official holiday. Many other cities nationwide and some states are also considering similar action.

President Abraham Lincoln first issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring all slaves free in Confederate territory on Sept. 22, 1862, but the news took time to travel. June 19, 1865, is the date when word of the proclamation reached African Americans in Texas.

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