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Cheers and quiet reflection as U.S. crowds mark Juneteenth

Marching bands sparked loud cheers and quieter reflections about racial justice from crowds gathered on Saturday (June 19) to mark Juneteenth as a new U.S. federal holiday commemorating the end of the legal enslavement of Black Americans.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday (June 17) signed a bill making Juneteenth the 11th federally recognized holiday, just over a year after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis ignited nationwide protests for racial justice and for ending police brutality.

Juneteenth, or June 19th, marks the day in 1865 when a Union general informed a group of enslaved people in Texas that they had been made free two years earlier by President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation during the Civil War.

Around the United States, concerts, rallies, art displays and lots of food were among events planned for Juneteenth.

Across the country, many events took place in person, unlike last year, as the United States emerges from the coronavirus pandemic and more Americans get vaccinated.

(Production: Jeenah Moon, Octavio Jones, Adrees Latif, Aude Guerrucci, Nicholas Pfosi, Mana Rabiee & Njuwa Maina)

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