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Biden hosting early Juneteenth celebration concert on White House lawn

By JOSH BOAK, , Associated Press,
Published: June 10, 2024, 1:46pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will celebrate the Juneteenth holiday early with a Monday concert on the White House South Lawn with singers including Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle.

The Democratic president signed a law in 2021 that made June 19, or Juneteenth, a federal holiday. It commemorates the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in the United States learned they were free, more than two years after then-President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that liberated slaves in the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Generations of Black Americans have celebrated Juneteenth, which marks the enforcement of the proclamation in Texas with the Civil War ending in a Union victory.

Others scheduled to appear at the White House event included singer and songwriter Raheem DeVaughn, gospel singer Kirk Franklin, rapper Doug E. Fresh, singer and songwriter Anthony Hamilton, singer and actress Patina Miller, country singer and songwriter Brittney Spencer, jazz musician Trombone Shorty, the singer and songwriter Charlie Wilson and the comedian and actor Roy Wood, Jr.

The concert comes as this year’s presidential election is intensifying, with Black voters sure to play an important role. Biden won 91% of Black voters in 2020, according to AP VoteCast.

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, the former president, contends that more Black voters are turning his way. While Black Americans have consistently voted Democratic, minor changes in political loyalties or low turnout in key states could influence who wins in November.