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Juneteenth Reverberates Across U.S. On Historic Date

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Today is June 19th, or Juneteenth: the day we commemorate the cessation of slavery in Texas in 1865, two years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Demonstrators are holding rallies in towns and cities across the country today to mark the date, which has taken on new significance following the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and the widespread protests that have come in their wake.

Many of the actions taken during the protests have been symbolic, but no less powerful in their own right. In Washington DC, portraits of four former House speakers who served in the Confederacy were taken down. And on early Thursday morning, San Francisco officials quietly removed a statue of Christopher Columbus from its perch atop Telegraph Hill, following much debate.

Demonstrations continue at this hour, with The Rev. Al Sharpton expected to deliver a keynote speech at a Juneteenth event in Tulsa OK, a city with a particularly troubled history of racial unrest. To read more about today's events, take a look at NPR's feature story.

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