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'A celebration of African American freedom' | Beaumont community celebrates city's 1st organized Juneteenth event

“To honor a group of people that have contributed so much to this country."

BEAUMONT, Texas — Texans came together this weekend to celebrate freedom as Juneteenth events took place around the state.

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when union troops marched to Galveston to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, officially freeing the last enslaved Black Americans in Texas.

The city of Beaumont hosted its first organized Juneteenth event on Main Street. A lot of community members went to the Sunday celebration.

Community members expressed how great it was to get together to celebrate the holiday and recognize the sacrifices many of their ancestors made for their freedom.

“This is a celebration of African American freedom,” Beaumont Mayor Robin Mouton said. “It's a Texas holiday, however it's celebrated all over the United States."

Related: 'We were free' | Southeast Texans share why Juneteenth is important, what it means to them

Juneteenth has an extra special meaning for the Beaumont mayor.

“I was elected one year ago on Juneteenth as the first African-American female mayor of this city,” Mayor Mouton said.

Mayor Mouton expressed how great it was to see people from all around Southeast Texas show up for the downtown celebration. To her, it is important to keep in mind the true meaning of Juneteenth.

“To honor a group of people that have contributed so much to this country,” Mayor Mouton said.

Community members are excited to be able to carry on the legacy of those who were set free more than 150 years ago.

“On that fateful time, when people found out they were free in Galveston, Texas, that meant so much to everyone because they had rights then,” Steve Jackson, Beaumont resident, said. “They could go and shop where they wanted, to shop and do things they weren't able to do in the past.”

Mayor Mouton encouraged more states to honor Juneteenth as a holiday.

“I’m very, very excited,” Mayor Mouton said. “I'm so happy with the turnout. We survived the rain."

Mayor Mouton and members of the Beaumont community are looking forward to putting on this event for years to come.

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