CROCKETT, Texas (KTRE) -154 years ago today marked a monumental moment in Texas History.
Slaves in the state of Texas were set free and Juneteenth celebrations were born.
People across the state, including those in Crockett commemorated the day by hosting their annual Juneteenth parade and ceremony.
“This is a beautiful day for America, not just for black people, but for all Americans, and we have all come together, but it is still a part of history that blacks were slaves at one time and this is our day to rejoice for our freedom," said Activist Billy H. Groves.
On June 19, 1865, Union Soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free, though the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed for more than two years.
But for the city of Crockett and their first elected female African-American Mayor Ianthia Fisher, this year’s parade and ceremony were more significant for them.
“For a long time it was out of thought for anybody to think that a black could win an election like this, and we have never stepped up to do this. With the new generation seeing it, it’s not going to do anything but motivate them going forward," said Groves.
“It’s giving me a new perspective of, not only individually, but the community as a whole, that people were looking to have something for us to come together on a common ground, and so it’s just kind of changed my life a little bit in a sense that now when I share things, people actually listen,” said Mayor Fisher.
Most importantly, Mayor Fisher said this day brings awareness and shows the progress that has been made.
“You don’t dwell in it, you move forward, but if you don’t know where you came from or what took place, a lot of times you’re not having the same conversation. We’ve had a lot of racial tension, but the beautiful thing is it’s not because it’s a real dislike of each other, but it’s moreso of a lack of understanding,” said Mayor Fisher.
Other states hold their cultural observances, but Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday in 1917.