African American Museum in Philadelphia Celebrates Juneteenth

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Stepping inside the African American Museum in Philadelphia, took visitors back in time to the 1800s.

June 19th, 1865 to be exact. The day commentates the end of slavery in the U.S. and is known as Juneteenth.

"We are really thinking about what liberty means to us, what freedom means to us going along with our mission of preserving and documenting African American History and culture in Philadelphia," said Hannah Wallace with the African American Museum of Philadelphia.

Those who showed up to the Juneteenth Celebration at the Museum learned stories of the past from reenactors, participated in other historical activities and learned more about that day in 1865, that African Americans in Texas got the news they were free.

It happened two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

We caught up with one group visiting from New York, teaching elementary kids about the significance of Juneteenth.

"Yes, it is a huge win for African Americans but I think it is for everybody. I think when I put freedom together here, without this win for African Americans we wouldn't be here. Most of our community is from Dominican Republic, I am from Brazil. I know I wouldn't be here if Juneteenth didn't happen," said Rodolpho Loureiro from New York City

Rochelle McCann stopped by the exhibit with her daughter and grandkids.

"What it means to me is freedom, awareness and what it took for them to be free that is what means a lot to me. What I try to tell young people, no matter what they are going though, I try to bring up the stories of people who had it far worse, said Rochelle McCann from North Philadelphia

That message about freedom over 150 years ago in Texas spread to other states and Juneteenth has been celebrated every since.

"These people were unaware that they were free and they found out they that they were free. I could only imagine what they did and how they celebrated and we should celebrate their freedom. Not only their freedom but all freedom," McCann said.

The festivities don't just stop at the African American Museum but this reminder, 6ABC is proud to broadcast the 2019 Juneteenth parade and festival. It airs this Sunday at 1pm.
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