HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg-area residents participated in an annual nationwide event Saturday which celebrated the official end of slavery in America nearly 150 years ago. A parade through downtown Hattiesburg and an all-day gathering at Vernon Dahmer Park commemorated Juneteenth.
It marks the day (June 19, 1865) when the last slaves were liberated in Texas after the Civil War. Their freedom came 2 1/2 years after President Lincoln signed his Emancipation Proclamation.
The Hub City's parade featured dance teams, motorcycles and horses. State Rep. Percy Watson was grand marshal.
The celebration at Dahmer Park included live entertainment, a softball tournament, food, arts and crafts and carnival rides.
"It's a celebration of freedom and achievement," said Frank Lee, parade organizer.
It was the 30th year for the Juneteenth celebration in Hattiesburg.