A look at the history and traditions of Juneteenth

A look at the history and traditions of Juneteenth

Juneteenth is being celebrated all over the country by people of all ethnicities this year, but the celebration of the end of slavery in the United States has gone on for decades in the African American community.

Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston talked to a metro Atlanta professor about the holiday’s origins and what he does not want to see happen.

[RELATED: Thousands gather in metro Atlanta to celebrate Juneteenth]

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Maurice Hobson is a history professor at Georgia State University. He said Juneteenth dates back to 1865 when slaves in Galvaston, Texas learned that they were free, two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after the end of the Civil War.

Why did it take so long for them to hear the news? Hobson said there are three theories.

"The first is that the messenger who was sent was murdered," Hobson said.

He said the second possibility is that the slaveholders refused to acknowledge the Emancipation Proclamation had ever taken place.

"The third shows really the federal government complicitness so east Texas could get their cotton crop," Hobson said.

He said the Juneteenth marches and rallies taking place today and all over the country really began in Texas and then spread to Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana as celebrations. Hobson said most Juneteenth events have certain foods that have a significant meaning.

"Juneteenth is often celebrated with barbecue, with fruit, 'soday' water as they called it," Hobson said. "And a lot of that had to do with the sweet fragrance of barbecue and the fragrance of the soda, in order to usher in the ancestors that hopefully they could see their children were now emancipated."

Hobson said he doesn’t want Juneteenth to just become another day off and the Federal Government to forget to help with racial and financial inequality.

Thousands gather across metro Atlanta to celebrate Juneteenth