Mid-Southerners celebrate Juneteenth

Updated: Jun. 19, 2020 at 5:36 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - From historic tours to intentional conversations, Memphians commemorated Juneteenth in more ways than one Friday.

Juneteenth celebrates the day enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, Texas learned they were free on June 19, 1865 -- two years after President Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation.

The National Civil Rights Museum, in partnership with Apple TV and non-profit organization 92Y, hosted a panel with actors from the movie, “The Banker.”

The movie stars Anthony Mackie and Nia Long, and highlights businessman Benard Garrett who helped pave the way for fair housing and lending laws that are still prevalent today.

"I want financial education, financial literacy to be a part of our conversation as a people, as a generation so that was a big component of me playing the role," Mackie said.

Dr. Noelle Trent is the Director of Interpretations, Collections and Education at the National Civil Rights Museum.

"I think a lot of people today are under the impression that the Civil Rights Movement was only about nonviolence, sitting in and perhaps education of schools, they forget that this economic equity bit was always part of the conversation," Trent said.

Other Memphians spent the day supporting black businesses.

Cynthia Daniels and Company hosted the "Juneteenth Shop Black Virtual Experience" which featured more than 100 black-owned businesses.

The site had more than 16,000 visitors and was so popular it crashed for crashed for a short time Friday.

"Even with that, we've still seen a number of sales come through today," said Jennifer Purnell, owner of September Nail Salon.

Purnell's salon is one of the businesses featured in the Shop Black Virtual event.

"If we look at even our own families historically we haven't seen a lot of businesses generationally in our families so to be able to step out and do that means a lot,"

The Juneteenth Shop Black Virtual Experience is going on until Monday. Click here to shop.

For a list of other Juneteenth celebrations throughout the weekend, click here.

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