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Juneteenth takes on new meaning amid push for racial justice

RICHMOND, CA - JUNE 19: Naomi Williams (L) and D'Emanuel Grosse Sr (R) taste the sweet potato pie entered in the cook-off contest at the Juneteenth, Black Independence Day celebrations at Nichol Park on June 19, 2004 in Richmond, California. The holiday is celebrated in June because slaves in Texas and several other states did not learn of their freedom until June of 1865. (Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

By MIKE HOUSEHOLDER, JONATHAN MATTISE and MICHELLE R. SMITH Associated Press
DETROIT (AP) — Americans have marked Juneteenth with new urgency amid protests demanding racial justice. The holiday commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans and is usually celebrated with parades and festivals. But Friday, it became a day of protest this year in the wake of nationwide demonstrations set off by George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis police. Protesters marched over the Brooklyn Bridge, chanted “We want justice now!” near St. Louis’ Gateway Arch and rallied in Portland, Oregon. Besides traditional cookouts and readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, Americans were marching, holding sit-ins or taking part in car caravan protests.

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