SAN ANTONIO — More than 100 people took part in San Antonio's 42nd annual Juneteenth Freedom Parade on the city's east side Saturday. People and vendors lined up along the parade route to commemorate the day filled with celebration and reflection.
Juneteenth celebrates the day enslaved Black Americans in Texas learned they were free on June 19, 1865.
That day, Major General Gordon Granger and union troops rode into Galveston, Texas with General Order, Number 3, which read in part:
"The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves..."
That same day, celebrations broke out as news spread across the state. Juneteenth has been celebrated ever since every year. 156 years later, in 2021, President Joe Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday.
"It’s long overdue, it should’ve happened many years ago," said Robert Merill, who attended Saturday's parade in San Antonio. "I think there’s a lot of Black people, African Americans in San Antonio who are proud. Proud to have this holiday," he said.
The parade started in the parking lot of Sam Houston High School and ended with a festival 3 miles later at Comanche Park #2.
Trejyon Hughes and his family watched from the same spot they've claimed for years.
"Just knowing what other folks had to go through before my time, its sad to know, its sad to think about," Hughes said.
While freedom came in 1865, absolute equality remains a fight. For many, Juneteenth remains a day to celebrate freedom and strides made, while also continue to fight for a more united future.
"I hope the world can become like, learn how to be one, not multiply, not divide," said Hughes.