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Canton holds Juneteenth celebration

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CANTON, MO. (WGEM) -- Residents of Canton, Missouri, celebrated Juneteenth on Saturday with a walk and story time at historic school.

Juneteenth celebrates the day some of the nation's last enslaved people learned they were free back in 1865.

"It means different things to different people but to us it's our freedom," Lincoln School coordinating director Phyllis Dean said. "It's the day when people like us were free all over the world."

Dean said she's aware that students weren't taught about the holiday in school but hopes one day they will.

"We still have more work to do and we'll continue to do the work but it helps that they have made Juneteenth a national holiday," she said.

Dean renovated the Lincoln School in 2019.

Only the exterior of the building was seen, but tours of the building are now available to give visitors an idea of what education was like back then.

The significant piece of Canton's past is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tour bus driver W.T. Johnson said Juneteenth should be a day that more people should learn about.

"It's a time to celebrate all the accomplishments of African American people and their struggles," he said.

"I know a lot of people have reached out to me because they did not understand the meaning of Juneteenth and it gives us all time to sit down and talk and have a discussion so that's the best part of it," Dean said.

Dean will continue to raise funds for the Lincoln Colored School Endowment Fund- which she established at The Community Foundation a couple years ago.

To learn more about Dean's school, visit her website.

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Kylie Janes

Multimedia Journalist

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