Juneteenth celebration set for June 20

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Organizers were hard at work this week, putting together the finishing touches on the 18th annual Juneteenth Celebration in Wills Point.

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with the news that the Civil War had ended and the enslaved were free. 

This announcement came two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on Sept. 22, 1862. The celebration of June 19 became “Juneteenth,” and the observance has grown beyond the borders of Texas and traveled to other countries. It became an official state holiday in Texas after having been signed into law on June 13, 1979.

Last year’s event was a major success, with hundreds attending the only Juneteenth celebration in Van Zandt County. This year’s event is scheduled to begin with a parade at 10 a.m., and food, cold drinks and games throughout the afternoon on June 21.

The parade will begin at the intersection O’Neal and Fourth Street, and continue south to South Park for a community celebration.

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