Detroit’s week-long Juneteenth celebration concluded Friday with a freedom rally and street art at spirit plaza.

The national black anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” commenced the 2nd Annual City of Detroit Juneteenth celebration.

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(Credit: April Morton/ CW50)

Hundreds gathered at this rally, commemorating and reflecting on June 19, 1865, when the last slaves were freed in the US.

Charity Dean, Director of Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity, said, “We are actually celebrating black culture and black life because there’s much to celebrate, but there is much work to do, and now we have the attention of the world.”

Charity was one of a handful of speakers at the event that honored black ancestors for the horrendous persecution they endured for centuries. Given the current climate of racial unrest in the country, many still believe we have a ways to go in the fight against injustice.

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Rally attendee said, “I think it’s a way to show that we are tired and we want it to stop. I think in the modern era, Juneteenth should be a day in which we practice unity. Obviously, that’s something that’s been lacking in our communities for a long time.”

Detroit students unveiled this power to the people mural that sits right on Woodward.

The mural was created by renowned artist Hubert Massey and painted by Detroit youth from the DPS community District and Detroit Heals Detroit.

(Credit: April Morton/ CW50)

Mural artist, Cayla Thomas said, “knowing that I did something as huge as this, it just makes me so happy.”

Ava Peoples, another artist who helped with the mural, was excited that the painting will be decades later. Peoples said, “ 20 years later, or even 30 years later, I can look back and say that I did that.”

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