Community gathers to celebrate Juneteenth Day in Milwaukee

Posted at 12:40 PM, Jun 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-19 17:41:15-04
MILWAUKEE -- For the 46th year, the community in Milwaukee gathered Monday to celebrate Juneteenth Day. 
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. 
President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves came in 1863. 
But it wasn't until two and a half years later that the news reached the community of Galveston, Texas. 
On June 19, 1865, Union Soldiers landed at Galveston and informed the public the Civil War had ended and the enslaved were free. 
Since then, June 19th has been celebrated as Juneteenth Day. 
On Monday, Milwaukee's annual Juneteenth Day Festival was held on MLK Drive between Center and Burleigh. 
"I think this celebration means a lot," said Airolyn Harrison. "It means we're still free." 
"This is not a day of division. It's not a day to be at each other's throats," said Zachary Mitchell, of Church of the Open Door. "It's a day where every American, regardless of race, creed or color, can come together and celebrate." 
The festival features a parade that kicked off at 10 a.m. at 19th and Atkinson. 
There are also games, exhibits, soul food and music. The celebration runs until 6 p.m. 
"This lets not only our young but our older generation remember our history and take pride in where we came from," said Elizabeth Coggs, a former State Senator and Milwaukee County Board Supervisor. 
Milwaukee's Juneteenth Day celebration is put on by the Northcott Neighborhood House.