Juneteenth Shooting Turns Festival on End-of-Slavery Ugly in Ohio

Monday, 17 Jun 2013 07:26 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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A festival celebrating the end of slavery turned ugly at a Columbus, Ohio, neighborhood where a 15-year-old boy was arrested in a shooting that injured a child Saturday evening, United Press International reported.

Authorities arrested Lovauntea J. Mickens after accusing the youth of firing a gun that injured an 11-year-old boy. Columbus Police told WCMH-TV that the injured boy, who was not identified, was taken to Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Police said they did not know a motive for the shooting and continued its investigation Monday. Authorities told The Columbus Dispatch that four teenagers were arrested before the shooting. The festival, which was scheduled to continue in the Columbus neighborhood of Franklin Park until Sunday, was shut down after Saturday's shooting.

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Juneteenth, which originated in Texas, is the unofficial celebration for the ending of slavery, is recognized on June 19. It marks the period in 1865 when Union troops arrived in Galveston at the end of the Civil War and informed slaves, who were not aware of the Emancipation Proclamation, that they were free.

Juneteenth had been mostly recognized by African-Americans with family and neighborhood functions until Texas legislator Al Edwards led an effort to turn Juneteenth into a state holiday in 1980, according to Juneteenth.com. Since then, community groups and organizations around the country have begun to recognize the celebration as well.

There were much more peaceful Juneteenth celebrations in other parts of the country. Houston residents celebrated the anniversary with a youth parade near downtown while Galveston held all-day celebrations, according to the Houston Chronicle.

There was a gathering at the Farmer's Market Pavilion Opelousas, La., to celebrate Juneteenth for the 32nd time there, reported the Opelousas Daily World.

"We have always known about it," Rebecca Henry, organizer of the Louisiana event told the Opelousas Daily World. "When I was a little girl, nobody worked in the fields that day. We celebrated our freedom.”

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The Juneteenth Music Festival in Denver attracted hundreds to the Five Points neighborhood, where the Denver Post said an event has been held there for the past several years.

"Countless people contribute to make this possible," organizer Norman Harris told the Denver Post. "We love our community."

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