Racial justice attorney explains the history of Juneteenth
Friday is Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger declared a new beginning for slaves -- he told them they were free.
That order came to Texas more than two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
"It was still brutal," said Lurie Daniel-Favors, a racial justice attorney a professor. "Hundreds of thousands of Black people then left the south traveled to the north, traveled into lesser restricted spaces."
For that reason, Black people historically gathered together to celebrate their journey to freedom.
This year marks a new beginning for New Yorkers too. On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted, "Today I will sign an executive order recognizing #Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees."
Daniel-Favors says it is a step in the right direction, but more work needs to be done.
"I want to see policies put into place so that Black people and communities of African descent have a equitable access to freedom, liberation, justice and the pursuit of our collective happiness," he said.