While more fuss is usually made over the Declaration of Independence, as liberation documents go the Emancipation Proclamation should not be sold short. That speech is the source of Juneteenth, a celebration of the day--June 19, 1865--when Union general Gordon Granger read the document in Galveston, Texas, belatedly freeing a quarter-million slaves. As word spread to individual plantations, celebrations welled up around the Lone Star State. A full 135 years later, the tradition continues in many major cities, and Minneapolis's version in Theodore Wirth Park (which this year falls on June 17) is a true freedom fest. In addition to a full day of family activities and food, Juneteenth has spawned a lecture series, a passel of exhibitions, and a Walker Art Center film festival that last year brought us the extraordinary, nine-hour family documentary An American Love Story). All reason enough to recognize an august day in American history.

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