Community comes together to celebrate Juneteenth in Cape Girardeau

The first community-wide Juneteenth celebration was held today in Cape Girardeau.
Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 5:02 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - People came together in Cape Girardeau to join the first community-wide Juneteenth Day Celebration on Saturday.

The event took place at Ivers Square where there were plenty of activities, food and entertainment.

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in Texas when word of the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War reached the state. It has been celebrated in African American communities around the country for more than 150 years.

People we talked with at the event said it’s important to remember why they are celebrating.

“It means so much for our ancestors, our families that had gave it all, that were brought here against their will and then they made it through only by the grace of God,” Martha Turner said. “We have had to do the same thing. It hasn’t been as tough for us but in life you go through so many things but it’s just such a great revelation. So, everybody that needs to know that. We need to know our history. This country needs to know all of our history, not just one story.”

“I think as a culture so much has been taken from us, it’s time to start celebrating ourselves, celebrate being black, celebrating our heritage and our culture,” Cara McElmurry said.

McElmurry said it’s great to see people of all races come out to the event and celebrate together.

“It means we’re headed in the right direction,” McElmurry said. “I think we have a lot of progress to make. And the fact that we can all come out and have a cookout like it’s all somebody’s same house. We’re headed in the right direction.”

“It’s great seeing people of all races, colors, ages, sexes, all of it,” Turner said. “It’s important for all of us to share in all of our history.”

Juneteenth became a federal holiday on June 17, 2021 when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, which designates June 19 as Juneteenth Day.

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