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Embracing American history: Locals celebrate Juneteenth at Fort Mornroe

Posted at 11:44 PM, Jun 19, 2020

HAMPTON, Va. - Many people across the country and right here in Hampton Roads are celebrating Juneteenth, a day symbolizing freedom for African Americans.

Earlier Friday, we stopped by two different events at Fort Monroe, where the first African slaves arrived in America.

People who spoke to News 3 say they hope this moment turns into a movement.

The celebration here at Fort Monroe is one that dates back to 1865.

“This is our Fourth of July. This is something we can hold for ourselves and say is ours,” said Chesapeake resident Jasmine Marshall.

June 19 - the day all African Americans were finally free from slavery.

“It just makes me feel good to know that other people are recognizing it,” said Marshall.

And embracing part of American history.

“I think people of any color should be aware of the struggle that black people have gone through in this country,” said Erin Gibbemeyer, who lives in Newport News.

People brought out the lawn chairs and enjoyed music at Oozlefinch Craft Brewery for the Black Lives Matter 757 event.

The owner of the brewery says he’s glad he could provide a safe place for people to celebrate.

“It’s more trying to provide a place where those conversations can happen and let the community know we care and we are here,” said Russel Tinsley, the founder of Oozlefinch Craft Brewery.

About a mile away, there was another freedom party with a live band at Paradise Ocean Club.

And some sand – people say they can’t believe they are living history.

“I feel extra special because Virginia is one of the first states to make it an official holiday,” said Lisa McKinley, who attended the Ocean Bay party.

Marshall says June 19 will forever be a special day, especially since it’s her birthday.

“I feel proud to be born on Juneteenth,” she said.

Click here for full coverage on America in Crisis.