Cincinnati celebrates Emancipation Day at Eden Park

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - This year's Juneteenth honors 31 years of freedom celebrations in the Queen City.

The actual holiday, Emancipation Day, began back on June 19, 1865 with the emancipation of the last remaining enslaved people in Texas.

"These are our kids! They want to grow up! They need to grow up!" crowds chanted as they paraded, flying dozens of colorful flags. "See something! See something! Say something! Say something!"

The celebration came a few days early in Cincinnati, coinciding with Father's Day weekend.

"The great thing about Juneteenth is, it's the ending of actual slavery," said Steven Sherman, of the Department of Human Relations Commission. The organization's goal is to encourage men to advocate for and celebrate peace with their families.

"Also, the beautiful thing about it is, it's the weekend of Father's Day! So, why not do a father's and family's peace march?" Sherman said.

The group has organized the peace march for five years now.

Cincinnati's Juneteenth tradition began in 1988 as a small neighborhood festival in Kennedy Heights.

It's grown over the years -- with as many as 20,000 people attending -- but the message remains the same.

"The kids get education, fun, excitement and love!" Sherman said. "And we just need more fathers to be more prudent and productive out in the communities for these kids."

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