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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Freedom walk celebrates Juneteenth

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Valerie Gunchick

Friends were made at the Juneteenth Freedom Walk today, which ended at the George Bush Library. 

One hundred and fifty years after slaves in Texas learned of their new freedom on June 19, 1865, almost 200 community members celebrate with a walk of freedom.

Just over two months after the last official shots were fired in the Civil War, the newly freed slaves had the opportunity to walk away from their former lives into a new one of freedom.

Lance Jackson, coordinator for the Lincoln Recreation Center who has helped put on the celebration since 2003, said for the last 13 years, the George Bush Presidential Library, along with many partners, has hosted a local “Freedom Walk” from the Lincoln Recreation Center to the Bush Library to symbolize the original walk.

“In 1865, [slaves] had the opportunity to leave their owners, to walk,” Jackson said. “So, we decided to walk. It’s a symbolic gesture.”

Shirley Hammond, Director of Education for the George Bush Library, said after the walk, Oba William King, a “griot,” or African-American story-teller, will speak at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center.

“Oba William King is an award winning, nationally recognized, traditional folk artist,” Hammond said. “His stories will reflect the theme of ‘building together.’ He highlights the fact that unity is an American theme, so he encourages everyone to use their talents to build a stronger community together.”

Jackson said after King does his reading, the audience will be able to interact with him.

“There will also be sing-alongs with [King] playing the drum,” Hammond said. “Students will be able to join on stage because we have musical instruments for them to be interactive too.”

Jackson said the event serves as a way to promote awareness of black history.

“I look at it as an opportunity to teach the millennials about our history, and their ancestors and what freedom should mean to them,” Jackson said. “We all participate in Independence Day, and we would like all people to celebrate in Juneteenth, too. I think we are getting close to that.”

Hammond said the Juneteenth celebration is also a time to reflect on opportunity.

“It represents the importance of upholding freedom for all and appreciating that together, we are stronger as free people,” Hammond said. “Juneteenth also represents our freedom to choose and take advantage of educational opportunities.”

Hammond said supporting unity and building a stronger community is important to her and others who help put on the event.

“This is a community celebration, and we invite everyone to come,” Hammond said. “It is free of charge. It is going to be a lot of fun, as well as interesting.”

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  • Juneteenth freedom walk starts Thursday Morning at 9:00AM at the Lincoln Center 

    Courtesy
  • Many children proudly waved their Texan and American flags during the Juneteenth Freedom Walk.

    Valerie Gunchick
  • Rain or shine, the time is always right to do what is right.  The cloudy weather and slight drizzle didn’t bring the spirit of the Freedom Walkers down!

    Valerie Gunchick
  • The Freedom Walkers were preceded by police escort, with this banner marking the beginning of the walk. 

    Valerie Gunchick
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