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Watertown celebrates Juneteenth

Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 9:37 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Juneteenth celebrations kicked off a day early in Watertown, as the Pan-African flag was raised high above City Hall on Saturday.

Juneteenth recognizes and celebrates June 19th, 1865. That’s the day the news of emancipation, and the end of the Civil War reached slaves in Texas and other states in the south.

June 19th is recognized as the longest-running African-American holiday in U.S. history. President Joe Biden signed a resolution last year making the day a federal holiday.

“Soldiers come from around the world, many of them brought Juneteenth with them,” said Bianca Ellis, a celebration coordinator. “We’re just continuing a tradition that’s been going on in America, actually for over 150 some odd years.”

“We should be celebrating Juneteenth all the time,” said Dr. Seth Asumah, chair of African studies at SUNY Cortland. “Because again, it’s a symbol of liberty, of liberation, of emancipation.”

An exhibition of art and music was held at the Watertown fairgrounds after the flag raising. Visitors had a chance to listen to traditional African music, enjoy a plate of food, and view a series of paintings from a local north country artist.

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