A video and print story on the annual Yolo Country Juneteenth celebration for The Sacramento Bee: https://www.sacbee.com/community/yolo/article231105863.html

Bill Terrell straightened his navy cowboy hat under the late-morning sun on June 2. The yellow tassels around the crown of his hat rustled in the breeze, his matching yellow neckerchief moving as well.

He was attending the annual Yolo County Juneteenth celebration at Davis Veterans Memorial Center to educate visitors about the Buffalo Soldiers, the first peacetime all-black regiments in the U.S. Army. They were formed on Sept. 21, 1866, in Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Terrell’s father was a Buffalo Soldier.

They “protected the settlers. Expansion in the old west wouldn’t have occurred (if it wasn’t) for the Buffalo Soldiers,” Terrell said as a group of kids passed by, oohing and aahing at his old western get-up. “You don’t know where you’re going unless you know where you came from.”

Juneteenth is the oldest celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the U.S. Though President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, declaring “all persons held as slaves” free, slavery continued in Texas. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865, that the last known slaves were emancipated, thus the ending of slavery is celebrated annually on this date. Juneteenth is a mix of the words “June” and “nineteenth.”