51st Milwaukee Juneteenth celebration draws thousands for parade
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Sunday, June 19th is the day the last of the slaves were freed in Texas in 1866, over a year after the end of the Civil War.
Thousands came out, lining up miles long for a parade and festival celebrating freedom in Milwaukee.
Organizers of Milwaukee's Juneteenth celebration say it is one of the longest-running and oldest Juneteenth celebrations.
This year was the 51st year of the celebration.
"It's a day to celebrate dads, it's a day to celebrate families, it's a day to leave the legacy and the footprint for our youth to follow," said Northcott Neighborhood House Juneteenth Director Elizabeth Coggs.
Coggs said they started planning for this year right after last year's, which is why this year is even bigger.
Classic cars, marching bands, dance teams and even former Packers wide receiver Antonio Freeman were all there.
"It feels kind of like a homecoming for me to come back," said Freeman.
For many of the kids, it was all about the candy.
Older and younger people in the parade, like Delania Weddle with Issa Stampede Dance Team, said it's an even bigger deal.
"It's special to me because I feel like I'm going to be a part of something that’s like history making," said Weddle.
It is something the Issa Stampede Dance Team CEO Kannaye Lewis said is a great thing for them.
"It means a lot to us, just to show the Milwaukee culture, to show that girls are doing things that are positive versus the negativity going on in the city," said Lewis.
This year's festivities were also about fathers, with Father's Day falling on the same day.
David Comer marched in the parade with his daughters. He said for him it's about building a legacy for his kids.
"I think it's significant to us as fathers, as we think about our history, plus as black men, our history here, so we can come together as a community, represent our community positively, and be the role models we are glad to be," said Comer.