Protests bring new attention to ‘Juneteenth’ holiday

A traditional day of celebration turned into one of protest Friday, as Americans marked Juneteenth, a holiday that long commemorated the emancipation of enslaved African Americans but that burst into the national conversation this year after widespread demonstrations against police brutality and racism.

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June 19, 2020 - 2:45 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A traditional day of celebration turned into one of protest Friday, as Americans marked Juneteenth, a holiday that long commemorated the emancipation of enslaved African Americans but that burst into the national conversation this year after widespread demonstrations against police brutality and racism.

In addition to the traditional cookouts and readings of the Emancipation Proclamation — the Civil War-era order that declared all slaves free in Confederate territory — Americans were marching, holding sit-ins or car caravan protests. 

In Nashville, about two dozen black men, most wearing suits, quietly stood arm in arm Friday morning in front of the city’s criminal courts. Behind them was a statue of Justice Adolpho Birch, the first African American to serve as chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court.

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