Upstate gathers to celebrate Juneteenth in Greenville

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- People came together across the Upstate to commemorate Juneteenth, in honor of the freedom of enslaved African Americans.

Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Greenville with music, food, and artwork.

Celebrating Juneteenth, Tone Hollywood said, “It means our emancipation, it means our freedom, and a combination of bringing our culture together.”

“This day right here is a day all to our own that we can all embrace our culture, embrace our history as well,” Hollywood said.

1865 was the year Major General Gordon Granger told slaves in Galveston, Texas they were freed.

The downtown Greenville event featured dozens of displays honoring that year and the African American culture.

Hollywood said, “It’s great to see so many vendors are here in this area that are local businesses that are representing for the culture and that’s something we want to encourage the youth that it can be done in your own back yard.”

President Biden signed legislation this week, making Juneteeth an official federal holiday, the first since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law in 1983 by then-president Ronald Reagan.

Organizers of the event, like Bruce Wilson say it makes the day even more significant.

Wilson said, “Now to have it recognized as a federal holiday, that’s big. I thought that would never happen in my lifetime and to have it happen in my children’s lifetime is very important.”

Some saying they hope this sparks even more change.

“Now hopefully the next step is to get this taught in more education and schools so people know exactly where the holiday comes from,” Hollywood said.

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