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Juneteenth celebrated in Colorado Springs

Posted at 7:24 PM, Jun 19, 2024

COLORADO SPRINGS —  Juneteenth celebrations in Colorado Springs emphasized that Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day.

On June 19, 1865 thousands of slaves in Texas learned they were free more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was enacted.

An event hosted by the Colorado Springs African American Historical and Genealogical Society of Colorado Springs emphasized that voting is an important right associated with that freedom.

There was special recognition given to Howard Smith, the African American owner of Howard’s Pit barbecue.

Smith who died earlier in the year was honored for his influence in the community.

He settled in Colorado Springs after being stationed at Fort Carson during his service in the army.

A native of Alabama, he was aware of slave history in the south.

“He did not take that for granted as far as his freedom, pouring back into the community as a whole, not just the black community,” said his daughter, Lisa Smith Cobb.

He lived a life that influenced others.

“He loved pouring into the youth, speaking to them, letting them know they could be anything that they set their heart out to be,” said Cobb.

Along with honoring Smith, the gathering was used as an opportunity for education.

“It is a celebration, but it is also a remembrance, because a lot of people aren't aware of the significance of Juneteenth, and it how it signifies freedom,” said Jennifer Yancey with the African American Historical and Genealogical Society of Colorado Springs.

Juneteenth celebrates independence for slaves.

“To acknowledge a part of our past, a part of our nation's history that needs to be made known,” said Yancey.

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