Photos by David Helms

An estimated 500 residents and visitors attended last Saturday’s Juneteenth Freedom Day Parade and Festival in downtown Pontotoc. In addition to the Main Street parade, the four hour afternoon event featured food, fun, fellowship and live musical entertainment under the city’s new pavilion. Juneteenth, the oldest African American holiday, celebrates the end of slavery in the United States after U.S. Army soldiers were dispatched to Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, to inform the last group of captive slaves of their immediate freedom, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into affect.

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