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History of Juneteenth in Hillsboro

Posted at 7:41 PM, Jun 20, 2024

“We’re just bringing something to the community so that we can have something of our own,” said Lastashia Brooks.

Brooks, one of the coordinators of the Hillsboro Juneteenth event, wants to keep the memory of Juneteenth and Black culture alive in Hillsboro.

“It gave us a sense of belonging that our community was moving forward and that we were being recognized amongst the whole community," said Brooks.

Back in 2020, Brooks and other members of the Juneteenth committee came together to have a family day for Juneteenth to celebrate the freedom of emancipated slaves in Texas. On June 19th, 1865, slaves found out they were free when word reached Galveston by boat. Although slavery ended federally in 1863, they remained slaves for two extra years.

Brooks tells me she doesn’t ever remember having a Juneteenth parade in Hillsboro but several were held in the 1900s. The Heritage League in Hillsboro’s website reflects on the Juneteenth parade held by parade marshal Uncle Tom Elliot.

According to the website, Elliot was born a slave in Alabama, and in 1914, he and the arrangement committee held a two-day Juneteenth event. The parades lasted until 1974, when members came together and decided to turn the tradition into the Hillsboro Homecoming on July 2nd.

Brooks tells me the Juneteenth family days are still impactful.

“Those family days are time for people to come home and celebrate with their family that are still here and come back to our community where we all kind of just feel like the old days," said Brooks.

Although Brooks and her committee decided not to have a Juneteenth event this year due to various things happening in the city, she says they’re planning for next year for many reasons but one in particular.

"We as a people are still fighting for equality on so many different levels. So it’s important for us to honor and recognize our independence," said Brooks.