Sunday, June 17, 2001

Crowd recalls, celebrates end of U.S. slavery

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        As the city heals from the April riots, residents from across the Tristate gathered for a multiracial remembrance of the last slaves to be set free in the United States.

[photo] Aieda Wofford (front) of College Hill, and Kalifa Wofford, of Forest Park, perform at Mirror Lake.
(Yuli Wu photo)
| ZOOM |
        Beautiful weather this year boosted attendence at Saturday's 14th annual Juneteenth Festival in Eden Park.

        “It's a great turnout,” said William Billy Jackson, who emceed the music portion of the festival.

        Officials for sponsor WCIN-AM (1480) said the crowd was larger than last year's estimated 2,000.

        Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865 — the date when the Emancipation Proclamation was reissued in Galveston, Texas. Texas was the last state to recognize the proclamation that freed slaves, made two years earlier by President Lincoln.

        Hundreds listened to jazz, gospel and soul music at Seasongood Pavilion while others gathered down the hill at Mirror Lake to shop for ethnic jewelry or visit a health screening booth.

        Chinese-Americans used the event to celebrate freedom of speech and educate people about repression in Asia, like that faced by members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. Jiwu Wang, 50, of Elsmere, explained that China's government considers it a dangerous cult.

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