OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Many think the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln was the end of slavery in America, but it wasn't.
"Two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, the last few of the slaves were freed in Texas and we're just celebrating our actual independence day," said festival organizer Deric Heard.
The true end of slavery was June 19th, 1865.
On June 19th 2020, Heard put together a festival in Omaha recognizing that historic day.
"A lot of people think this is something dealing with protesting or something it's not what it is we're just having fun and enjoying a celebration," said Heard.
"It's kinda, you know, a liberation day -- a freedom day, kind of like an independence day," said Philip Brown.
Brown has family from Texas and says this day resonates with him greatly as he hopes people of all races see the importance of this holiday.
"It's kind of a time for us to kind of come together and understand each other and, you know, bring a better society for our children and our children's children," said Brown.
Guest speakers and live music took the stage, the food was all donated, and Heard reiterated one of the best ways to make your voice heard is this November.
"if you want to register to vote you can do that here tonight. There's so much stuff going on," said Heard.
With several companies now recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday, Heard says people are listening and he hopes it continues.
"We're getting one step closer to people actually working together and seeing the importance in unification,” said Heard.