Nacogdoches Juneteenth celebration highlights freedom and herita - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Nacogdoches Juneteenth celebration highlights freedom and heritage

Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff

Hundreds of residents in Nacogdoches spent Saturday celebrating Juneteenth. 

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the day when slavery was officially abolished in Texas.

“It’s very important that we don’t lose our heritage,” Nacogdoches NAACP President Leonard Sweat said.

On June 19, 1865 the chains were broken. It’s the day that Union soldiers landed in Galveston with news that those enslaved were now free.

Now, 151 years later, Texans are still celebrating that freedom.

“I think all African Americans, especially here in Texas, should celebrate when it comes to the Juneteenth,” Sweat said.

“It’s a time to remember our black heritage, and remember the times that the slaves were freed,” President and founder of Progressive Leadership group, Charlotte Stokes said. “We don’t need to forget those days.”

Events included an early morning parade and an all-day park extravaganza, bringing together people of different backgrounds to celebrate.

“This is a beautiful fellowship,” Jonathan Moore, an attendee to the event, said. “All people are coming together. It don’t matter what color, because we’re all one race, the human race.”

“We’re all here to enjoy one another,” said Sheila Shepherd. “Don’t let this be the last time, let’s do this all the time.”

“It makes me feel proud to be an African American here,” Sweat said.

Besides the good food and good time, the number one thing on the agenda was to pass down this history and knowledge to the next generation.

“We want to teach them about our ancestors and we want to let them know that it’s not just a day we come together to have fun in the summer or have a parade, but the reason why,” Nacogdoches chapter of Delta Sigma Theta President, Lenora Foy said. “Knowing that this is when we found out the news in Texas that the slaves were free.”

This is the 10th year for the Progressive Leadership Group to have a Juneteenth parade and festival in Nacogdoches. Organizers said they want to continue to see it grow.  

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