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Juneteenth events planned in Mid TN as lawmakers push for legal holiday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —Plans are underway to celebrate Juneteenth in Nashville and Middle Tennessee as lawmakers continue a push to make the day a legal holiday in the Volunteer State.

"Juneteenth Weekend Nashville" is being hosted by Honest T's, Black Business Boom, The Equity Alliance and The Elevate Cafe.

Juneteenth is celebrated annually on June 19 and commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. It's been celebrated for over a century and traces back to 1865 in Galveston, Texas when Major Granger announced that "all slaves are free" - two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

According to the event on Facebook, a cookout is planned from noon to 5 p.m. Friday, June 19 at Percy Priest Lake.

Organizers are hosting an "On The Rise Black Business Expo" on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at The Elevate Cafe at 605 Buchanan Street and a flea market at Lenox Village Farm & Flea from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A block party will be hosted later that evening from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Moguls, just down the street.

Participants are encouraged to bring their masks.

A Juneteenth "March for Justice" is taking place starting at 5 p.m. Friday at Legislative Plaza. A flash mob is slated for 6:30 p.m. at 3rd and Broadway.

In Columbia, free food and information will be handed out at the courthouse at 11 a.m. on June 19. Folks are gathering for a free cookout, music and fun at 1 p.m. at the Riverwalk.

The City of Murfreesboro is hosting a virtual Juneteenth event Friday at 8 a.m. on Facebook, YouTube, as well as on CityTV.

Meanwhile, Rep. Antonio Parkinton (D-Memphis) and Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) introduced the bill, HB1626/SB1829, back in January. It seeks to make Juneteenth a legal holiday and is up in the Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee on June 15.

In 1979, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday.

Learn more about Juneteenth and celebrations in Tennessee here.

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