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Buffalo celebrates Juneteenth for first time as federal holiday

Posted at 9:29 PM, Jun 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-19 21:29:22-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Juneteenth is being celebrated as a federal holiday for the first time.

It was 156 years ago, when federal soldiers rode to Galvaston, Texas, to inform slaves that they'd been set free more than two years after President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Here in Buffalo, in-person events began with a walk in Niagara Square on Saturday.

It was led by a group called, Mona's House, which helps modern day victims of human trafficking.

Organizers say since Juneteenth represents the freedom of slaves in America, the organization wants this holiday to shed light on the issues many are facing today.

They call it the Free Them Walk.

Saturday's walk in Niagara Square marked the end of a journey for a team of people from around the country, who walked the path of the Underground Railroad from Lynchburg, Virginia, here to Buffalo.

Juneteenth celebrations have been taking place here in the Queen City since 1976.