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Arts & Culture

Awareness Grows for Juneteenth

Black Lives Matter rally
M.L. SCHULTZE
/
WKSU

Juneteenth is the day commemorating the end of slavery for African Americans in the U.S.

The commemoration was born after the end of the Civil War in Texas on June 19th, 1865 when the U.S. Army arrived and let people know that emancipation passed and that African Americans were no longer enslaved.

Liz Smith-Pryor specializes in African American history at Kent State University. She says the death of George Floyd and others at the hands of police has helped bring greater attention to the day.

“Over the last ten or fifteen years, people have become more aware of it. Particularly, I’d say very recently in part because of the growing activism of Black Lives Matter, and other groups like that. It’s become a holiday that even more Americans now know of who might not have ever heard of it before" says Smith-Pryor. 

Smith-Pryor says Juneteenth has helped raise awareness about the fight for racial justice and the need for political activism, and social and economic change in America.

She hopes that the day will become a national holiday.