For Albany residents, Juneteenth is a celebration and a history lesson

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Juneteenth, or June 19, is called the “unofficial” Independence Day because all people weren’t free following the Revolutionary War. On Friday, it officially became a holiday for those who work for the City of Albany, Albany County and New York State.

“We’re still not free. We still go through racism every day. I’ve been at plenty at rallies. You should have seen people trying to hit us because we were voicing our opinion. People calling us N-words,” said rally Organizer Vacari Fox.

A rally was held at Henry Johnson Park to celebrate the day.

According to organizers, the event, which began as a march and ended as a cookout, is for kids to learn about the history of black culture. Organizer Rhanell Wheeler said parts of Black history are often overlooked in schools.

“We didn’t know growing up what this day was so we’re going to make sure [kids] know what this day was and what it means,” Wheeler said.

The Emancipation Proclamation was not the end of the road for slavery in the United States. It took nearly three years for the last group of slaves to be freed. It took another six months for the 13th amendment to be ratified, abolishing slavery.

Friday marks the 155th anniversary.

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