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First Federal Juneteenth Holiday Marked With Celebrations In Annapolis, Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- From City Dock to Maryland Hall, it's a celebration. Car horns are blaring. Music is blasting with hundreds of demonstrators in the streets. It's Juneteenth and this one is special. A year when the country has witnessed adversity, America has come to our State Capital for this parade on a day of unity.

"I'm here from North Carolina as a matter of fact," one man says.

"I'm from Washington D.C," says another woman.

The annual holiday observing the end of slavery 156 years ago is now the first new federal holiday created by Congress in nearly 40 years. It was signed into law by President Biden Thursday.

Annette Brown is a Maryland resident.

"It just shows the hard work that was done by our ancestors for people like me today to have some of the opportunities that we have," she says to WJZ. "However, we still have a lot more work to go."

Jennifer Barber is also a Maryland resident.

"I think it's absolutely amazing," she yells as the beat of drum cadences casts over the crowd. "I think it's something that should be brought to the attention of everybody. It's something that celebrates real and true freedom."

In Canton historic panels of abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, were unveiled on Boston Street - near the very same depot Douglass used to escape for freedom to the North.

Baltimore City Councilmember Zeke Cohen spoke to the crowd of people gathered.

"I'm so proud of all of us today for being a part of this next Baltimore where we get to decide it's not the O'Donnells. It's the Douglass' that matter the most," he said.

A special prayer rally was held at the Rehoboth Church Of Deliverance after at least 20 people have been shot in Baltimore City in the past week.

Bishop Carrington Morgan says the violence has to end.

"It doesn't matter at this point what color you are. The only issue is life."

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