Community leaders share history, importance of Juneteenth

Posted at 11:44 AM, Jun 13, 2019

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Juneteenth celebrations will take place in many cities across the country this weekend.

Here in Omaha, there will be a flag raising ceremony on Friday, and the annual Juneteenth parade on Saturday near 30th and Lake.

Members of the Omaha community say people need to understand the importance of Juneteenth.

Community leader Preston Love wants all generations of African Americans to answer the question, "what are we doing with our freedom?"

"Juneteenth ought to be a reflection time for us as a people to realize that many of the things we do (good and bad) are done because we are free," Love said.

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862, it became effective in 1863.

But, true freedom for a quarter-million slaves in Texas, did not arrive until June 19, 1865.

"You know it took two years for the enslaved individuals that were living in Texas to then be able to gain their freedom," Great Plains Black History Museum Director Eric Ewing said.

Ewing says he wants everyone to know the value of black history.

"I really believe that it's something if we all embraced it, then we would all appreciate it and understand it," Ewing said. The importance of it, just like we understand the importance of July 4.

Love says Juneteenth should serve as a reminder to African-Americans what their ancestors went through. He also says it's a call to action.

"We need to come together and agree upon where we're going," Love said.

"African American history, is American history told through the lens of African Americans," Ewing said.

it's a history both men say they hope many will come to understand and appreciate for years to come.

The raising of the flags ceremony is on Friday from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Charles B. Washington Library.

The Juneteenth parade kicks off at 10 a.m.