PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh residents came out to celebrate Juneteenth with the Grand Jubilee parade on Saturday.
This year’s parade was led by a drum corps. It began at Freedom Corner in the Hill District and made its way through Downtown Pittsburgh.
“Being around my friends, my daughters love it. It’s wonderful. Really is. Beautiful day,” said Ladora Jamison from the Hill District.
Juneteenth is a federal holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. It is a combination of the words June and nineteenth because June 19th, 1865 was when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved people in Galveston Texas.
The parade started ten years ago. Organizer William Marshall said it has grown from dozens of parade-goers to thousands.
“We started in 2013 when Juneteenth wasn’t very popular. nobody really knew about Juneteenth. but with the city, making it a holiday. with the state making it a holiday in the federal government, making it a holiday, it became very socialized and proper,” said Marshall.
This year, the Grand Marshall was Colonel James H. Harvey, one of the last surviving pilots of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Several survivors of gun violence also took part in the parade, including Mindy Stoops who was shot in October during a funeral service on the North Side.
“I’m here. I made it through. God took care of me, and that’s what was important that day. It could’ve been a lot worse situation,” said Stoops.
Juneteenth became an official holiday in the city of Pittsburgh in Aug. 2020. The celebration began on Friday and festivities will end on Monday with a fireworks show at Point State Park.
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