News4 ‘Inequality in America' Special Examines Juneteenth

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As the holiday marking the emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S. becomes a national holiday, News4's "Inequality in America" special examined the significance of Juneteenth.

Historians, activists and students reflected on the past and shared ways to celebrate the future.

Aimee Cho found out how to mark the new federal holiday and learn something all at the same time.

The special aired on NBC4 Saturday, June 19 at 5:30 a.m. and Sunday, June 20 at 9:30 a.m.

News4's Shawn Yancy looked at the history of Juneteenth, which commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.

Traditionally, some themes come to mind when celebrating Juneteenth.  Among them job, culture, progress, resistance, activism, and of course, food.  Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson tells us why red-hued food is an important tradition for Juneteenth and what people shouldn't forget while celebrating this holiday. Chef Edward Reavis of Money Muscle BBQ shares his red cornbread from his special Juneteenth menu.

It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.

We spoke with historian and author C.R. Gibbs about Juneteenth's history and why the new national holiday is so significant.

American University students gave their perspective about their peers’ reckoning with race through a journalism project published by Teen Vogue.

Last year, we watched as protestors filled the streets, seeking justice in George Floyd’s murder while also calling out structural racism.  In a project with Teen Vogue, students at American University are now reporting on the racial reckoning and the challenges that remain.

The special also covered topics such as what the Juneteenth flag represents and how the holiday is celebrated through food.

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