Juneteenth in Memphis: A celebration of the past and present

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Good Music, food and a chance to learn much more about the newly signed federal law.   

This year for the first time in nearly 30 years, the Memphis Juneteenth festival was held at a new location.  Organizers said this was by design, as they are hoping it will mark the end of controversy, while ushering in the beginning of change.

Health Sciences Park took on a new look Saturday, with strands of American history on full display with the celebration of Juneteenth.

People from all walks of life were at the park. The location is profound because it was once the location where the remains of the first grand wizard of the KKK Nathan Bedford Forrest was once buried.

But on Saturday, people celebrated Juneteenth which honors the end of slavery.

“We knew we were never welcomed,” said Telisa Franklin, the President of the Memphis Juneteenth Festival.

Franklin said what is happening right now, at the park, is needed now more than ever.

“It’s important we know our history, so we will not repeat our history,” Franklin said.

In addition to open dialogue, the event offered opportunities to miniature CEOS like Ilana Flynn.

Others also were excited about Saturday’s celebrations. John Mize, traveled several hours on a bus from Missouri to Memphis. He said it came to the Bluff City to celebrate this momentous occasion.

“I came here for three days is to visit the National Civil Rights Museum, and to celebrate Juneteenth,” Mize said. “I feel like my life hasn’t been complete until I went to the museum.”

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