REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - On June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas, slaves were finally told about President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. The announcement came more than two years after the president declared all enslaved people free.
"The states were not complying with the goal to free the slaves, and so, troops went out to notify the states, you have to comply with the federal law, and you have to free your slaves," Tanisha Shedden said.
Although it's not a federal holiday, it's an important day in American history that many people don't grow up learning about, like Shedden.
"I'm black but I didn't know about Juneteenth growing up in Utah either," Shedden said.
Shedden serves as one of the organizers for the Juneteenth celebration event that was brought to Rexburg on Friday.
She says the goal was to educate the community about what the holiday means for everyone, "It's not just about the black community it's about everybody, it's about the fact that we all suffered through this long history of slavery. It wasn't just blacks. It was, you know, white people fought to end slavery as well."
Slavery impacts the genealogy of many citizens and Shedden says it's a topic that always needs to be taught.
"Even though it's something that we tried to put in our past and try to move forward from, it is important to learn from our history, and I think it's an opportunity for us to learn and to grow."
In 2001, Idaho became the fifth state to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday.
The Juneteenth Celebration in Rexburg will be on Friday at 5:30pm in Porter Park.