Thursday, 4:30 PM
Thousands gather to celebrate Juneteenth
By Brian Ballou, Globe Staff
Thousands of people are gathering in Boston's Franklin Park today to celebrate Juneteenth, the day that slaves in Texas found out they were free -- more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation officially ended slavery.
This year's festivities will be highlighted by an appearance by Governor Deval Patrick, the state's first black governor.
He'll sign a bill proclaiming that the state officially recognizes Juneteenth, joining 24 other states that legally recognize the day. In some of those states, Juneteenth is a state holiday.
Ralph F. Browne Jr. the co-chair of the Massachusetts branch of the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign, said, "With every state that signs off, it greatly increases the effort to get Juneteenth recognized as a national holiday.
"When Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, that was just the beginning of the task to eradicate slavery. I think that it is proper that we, as a country, recognize the end of it."
June 19, 1865 is widely recognized by the black community as the day slavery ended in the United States.