BOSTON (CBS) – Saturday marks the first celebration of Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
It was on June 19, 1865, when the last enslaved people in Texas were finally told they’d been freed, some two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln outlawed slavery.READ MORE: 'It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way,' Dr. Mallika Marshall Says It's 'Heartbreaking And Demoralizing' To See COVID Cases Rise Again
All across the city of Boston Saturday, communities came together to celebrate Juneteenth.
“It means celebrating freedom and celebrating the people who didn’t get to make it to see freedom,” said 12-year-old Jayden.
“It makes me feel happy and very very excited that people are talking about black people,” said seven-year-old Neissa.
At the Museum of Fine Arts, they gave away 4,000 free tickets for an all-day Juneteenth event. Special programs and exhibits honor the contributions of Black artists, scholars and creators to the City of Boston.READ MORE: Six Dog Food Varieties Recalled Over Potentially Toxic Levels Of Mold
“Throughout the summer, try to explore where are the present in plain sight histories of African American people that contributed, not only to the local community but the world at large,” said Frederick Mann.
In Hyde Park, local and federal leaders did acknowledge the black freedoms still unfulfilled: like inequities in health care, education, and housing.
“There is still more work that we have to do in terms of closing so many of the gaps that were exposed and exacerbated due to COVID-19,” said Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey.
“The sustainable transformative work for black Americans to truly be emancipated and free is about our policies and about our budgets,” Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley.
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“I want to show these young people you can be brave, even if you’re young. You can do anything,” said 15-year-old Kalaya. “It’s you who makes it happen.”