Hundreds celebrate annual Juneteenth Parade in Tyler

Published on Sunday, 18 June 2017 06:27 - Written by

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Hundreds lined the streets of Martin Luther King Jr. and Glenwood boulevards -along a route that ventured through several neighborhoods and ended at Woldert Park - in celebration of the annual Juneteenth Parade on Saturday.

For Violet Stripling, of Tyler, the event was an opportunity to gather with others in the community and celebrate freedom that once-enslaved African-Americans had to endure great hardships to earn.

“It’s a beautiful, cool day and it’s nothing like celebrating with our people,” she said. “It’s good wholesome fun.”

The parade featured a variety of motorcycles, classic cars, sports cars, classic trucks and floats - many of which featured booming music and generous occupants who threw candy and other treats into the crowd. Food was also served at Woldert Park at the parade’s conclusion.

Derrick Choice, a committee member of the Juneteenth Association of Tyler, which organizes the parade, said he was very pleased with this year’s turnout.

“What we’re finding is people are coming from all over the Northeast Texas area to come celebrate Juneteenth with us here,” Choice said. “The people have come to expect that we can (have this event) in their community.”

Juneteenth commemorates the day word of slavery’s abolition reached Texas on June 19, 1865, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

Tyler City Councilman Ed Moore served as the grand marshal at the parade and stressed the importance of making sure that young people know the significance of Juneteenth - a point Choice also wanted to make.

“I hope (everyone) can walk away knowing what Juneteenth is all about,” Choice said. “It’s one thing to have a barbeque and drink a Big Red soda water, but it’s another thing to know what it is about.”