BOSTON (CBS) – It was a celebration of Black music and culture in the heart of Roxbury.

“Nubian Square is a significant location for the Black community,” said Imari Paris Jeffries, executive director of King Boston.

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The neighborhood where Martin Luther King, Jr. preached and where Malcolm X grew up became the epicenter of Boston’s Juneteenth festivities Friday.

For acting Mayor Kim Janey, this holiday is not only historic, it’s sentimental.

“This is important for us to celebrate this first holiday, Juneteenth, which is Freedom Day for Black people, and to be able to stand here as the first Black mayor of Boston,” said Mayor Janey. “I’m so grateful.”

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Governor Charlie Baker noted that the Juneteenth event is one of the first since the start of the pandemic where people can gather without a mask.

“Juneteenth being a state holiday and a national holiday will force a reflecting and conversation about that stain and about that time and demand that we all recognize it, accept it and work to right the wrong that was done to so many,” said Gov. Baker.

Celebrated on June 19, it marks the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in the country learned of their freedom.

Today, the newest federal holiday is a symbol of hope and change against income inequality, for housing and for a better tomorrow.

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“We have to see Juneteenth as not only a holiday and day off, but it has to be a day of celebration and remembrance,” said Paris Jeffries. “It has to be a personal commitment to ensure that anti-racist principles are brought with us after the pandemic.”

Tiffany Chan