Juneteenth Celebrated in Duluth for First Time as Federal Holiday

Organizers say it's important the day and the struggles of slavery and racism people of color went through are recognized federally.

DULUTH, Minn.- Juneteenth celebrations across the country and in Duluth held a different meaning after President Joe Biden signed a bill making it a federal holiday this week.

At One-Roof Community Housing in Duluth today there was free food, games, different black owned businesses and community resources.

June 19th 1865 is the day the nation’s last slaves in Galveston, Texas learned they were free nearly two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

Organizers say it’s important the day and the struggles of slavery and racism people of color went through are recognized.

“It means a lot in terms of really begin to be included in the history of this country,” said Claudie Washington, President of the Twin Ports African American Mens Group. “We believe that our cause will be greater when the total community recognizes our history and our contribution.”

One committee is working on making an African Heritage Hub to bring social, economic, and educational resources for their community in the Twin Ports and Iron Range.

They say while the national recognition of Juneteenth is important, there’s more work to be done.

“It’s kinda bittersweet,” Glen Simmons of the African Heritage Hub Committee said.

“I’m proud that we now have an opportunity to feel more empowered to celebrate this day. And hopefully we can continue to move forward in positive directions with other initiatives that are recognizing the achievements of the citizens of this country,” said Simmons.

The event was hosted by the Duluth NAACP, Family Rise Together, Superior African American Heritage Community, and the Twin Ports African American Men’s Group,

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