Somber Juneteenth Celebrations in Wake of Charleston Tragedy

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DALLAS -- Exactly 150 years ago on Friday, slaves in Texas got the news they were free men and women. Folks across DFW couldn’t wait to celebrate.

“There’s a concert here at Encore Park and we’re observing Juneteenth, and it’s a commemoration of the recordings that were made here at 508 Park on Juneteenth in 1937,” Bruce Buchanan, associate Minister of Community Ministries and Executive Director at the Stewpot said.

People celebrated at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Center too!

“I just enjoy myself,” Gloria J. Lee said.  “I love the music, I love the praise dancing. I love everything about it.”

“I rode the train,” 6-year-old Keria Hart said.

There was storytelling, music, and plenty of watermelon to go around. Some say it represents the bloodshed of the slaves.

“I want to see the young folks and tell them what Juneteenth is all about," Lee told NewsFix.

While Friday brought some smiles, there were some tears too. Attendees at various events prayed for Charleston.

Juneteenth comes in the shadow of the deadly shooting in Charleston, South Carolina at historic Emmanuel A.M.E. Church.  And while this is a day to celebrate freedom, some folks say there’s still a long way to go.

“It was just so sad what happened in South Carolina, and I started not to come out,” Lee said.  "And I said 'Lord, I’m not going to let that stop me because I am a child of God.' Jesus died for all of us. And I believe that there’s hope in everybody.  I pray for the young man that committed this act.”

“As a nation, and as a world community, acts of violence is a heavy burden on all of us," Buchanan said. "And it is the responsibility of the community to move us forward in that journey, and this is a small step in creating a sense of community."