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Juneteenth: The day slavery ended, should it become an official holiday?

Posted at 11:42 PM, Jun 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-19 23:42:40-04

FORT MYERS, Fla., -- Black community leaders of Fort Myers share different views on whether or not Juneteenth, a day to dedicated to celebrating the end of slavery, should become an official U.S. holiday. 

“All of our history isn’t worthy of glorifying, the circumstances leading up to Juneteenth was bloody," said James Muwakkil, NAACP President of Lee County. 

Muwakkil says making the day an official holiday is a step backwards for the African-American community. 

“Holiday just simply means holy day," explained Muwakkil. "There’s nothing holy about being told you’re now a free man, when you should have been free at birth.”

However, not everyone agrees with him. Todd Thomas, Program Director of the Quality of Life Center, says the holiday is a way to teach kids about their history. 

“There’s a sentiment that’s a part of history," said Thomas. "You should’t erase history, good, bad or ugly.”

The Lee County Black History Society tell Fox 4, they have hosted a Juneteenth celebration since 1998. They observed the day over Father's Day weekend this year.