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Celebrating Juneteenth, the oldest commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – June 19th is also known as Juneteenth. It's the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.

The government recognizes July 4th as Independence Day even though most African-Americans were not free.

Many African-Americans consider Juneteenth as the "Black Independence Day."

"In 1776, most blacks in America were slaves. There was nothing for them to celebrate as far as independence and freedom, because they remained in slavery all the way up to 1865," NAACP Member Jerry Burnet explained.

The Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, but word didn`t get down to Texas, until two and half years later. "We didn`t have internet and telephones. A number of people at that time could not read. Even if they got a paper they couldn`t read. Black people were forbidden," Burnet said.

General Gordon Granger was able to bring word to Texas that slaves were free. NAACP Member Jerry Burnet said it`s important not to forget those who were enslaved and to know the reason behind Juneteenth.

"We have BBQs and music festivities. I always like to associate that with a documentary, because sometimes people will celebrate and not really understand what we are celebrating. It is just a big party so we need to educate and celebrate," Burnet said.

He said it`s amazing to see how far the world has evolved since 1865, but there were still a lot of hurdles along the way.