SPOKANE, Wash. - June marks a special month for African Americans; it's a month to celebrate freedom from slavery and this weekend is the annual Juneteenth celebration here in Spokane.
Juneteenth is about dancing, music and bringing people together. But it's also about the history of the freedom from slavery for African Americans. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed in January of 1863 but all slaves weren't freed until two years later.
"So it wasn't until after the Civil War was over when the slaves in Texas were finally notified and told that they were finally freed," said Alan Jones, co-chair of the Inland Northwest Juneteenth Coalition.
That date was June 19, 1865, hence the Juneteenth celebration, usually held the weekend before or after that date.
"It's going to be an event that we hold there, to where we educate, showcase the talents, have food, music it's going to be a real good celebration to where we come together," said Jones.
Jones said Juneteenth was celebrated for quite some time in Spokane but slowly fell apart. The celebrations were revived four years ago.
"This last year we ended up having over 600 people show up and come through the park," said Jones.
This Friday the coalition will hold the Pillar Awards, which, "honor and award people in the community that have done things to lift the African American community here," Jones said.
Saturday's event will take place at Liberty Park starting at 11 a.m. and Jones hopes people from all walks of life make it out to celebrate, connect and even learn something about Juneteenth.
"We came together as a coalition and we decided City of Spokane needed that, needed something that we could embrace and to take hold and learn more about," he said.
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