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Juneteenth Block Party at the African American Museum in Philadelphia celebrates Black joy

African American Museum in Philadelphia celebrates Black joy at Juneteenth Block Party
African American Museum in Philadelphia celebrates Black joy at Juneteenth Block Party 02:39

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Organizers with the African American Museum in Philadelphia hosted a block party Wednesday to celebrate Juneteenth. People at the Juneteenth Block Party said this federal holiday honors freedom for all Americans.

"The celebration of all this Black joy. The celebration of freedom," Sheree Jenerette said. "It's nonviolent, it's a group of people, harmony."

Sheree Jenerette brought her family to celebrate and honor the history behind Juneteenth.

"My parents always made sure I knew the struggles of my people and how we got here now," Cailyn Jenerette said.

That history is the emancipation of the last enslaved African Americans in the confederate community of Galveston, Texas, freed two and a half years after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

"This represents the day that Black soldiers marched into Galveston, Texas, and told the people that they were free," Colonel Sgt. Larry Harris said.


Harris is a Civil War reenactor with the 3rd Regiment infantry, one of 11 regiments of African-American soldiers from Philadelphia.

"One of the first things they want to say is 'Thank you for your service,'" and I have to tell them no, that was over 150 years ago," Harris said. "I wasn't there then, but this is for our ancestors that were here, and we represent them. That's why I dress up in this uniform."

That history brings America to this moment for the people who talked to CBS News Philadelphia.

"You want to tell every story you possibly can and there's really not much more important than today," Tim McAleer said. "This is the day we really do become a free nation."

The museum is also celebrating its 48th anniversary. It opened on June 19, 1976.

"This holiday should be celebrated so you can learn about America," Meeka Johnson said. "We always separate African American from American. No, it's American history."

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