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Hartford man celebrates Juneteenth by tracing family history

Hartford man celebrates family on Juneteenth
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 6:28 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, Conn. (WFSB) - Many are preparing and already celebrating Juneteenth or June 19th which officially became a U.S. federal holiday last year.

It is the day that recognizes the ending of slavery in the United States. And one local family, who are descendants of enslaved people, are sharing what it means to celebrate this newly recognized holiday.

You may know Lawyer Twillie the second from his tv commercials, but he wants you to know why he commemorates Juneteenth, because its personal.

“I am excited that it is recognized as a holiday, Juneteenth is important my family descends from slaves and it’s a topic that I don’t think gets enough coverage,” said Lawyer Twillie.

Juneteenth in 2021 officially became the 12th federal holiday. The day remembers June 19th in 1865 when union soldiers informed enslaved people in Texas that they were free.

This occurred nearly two and half years after the emancipation proclamation freed slaves…

Lawyer Twillie is related to Eli Twillie who is believed to have been born in the 1820s.

He is Lawyer Twillies grandfather’s grandfather, who was enslaved in the United States.

“If Eli is a slave, recognizing Juneteenth as a national holiday, I don’t know how well that would sit with him,” said Lawyer Twillie. “I say that because we can look back and say oh, we should honor that portion of our history and recognize that this was wrong and, but I don’t know that would be enough for Eli Twillie or slaves in general, but I think that’s a great starting point.”

He says his family’s core belief of helping others dates back generations and continues to live on today.

Several of his relatives serve as leaders and changemakers throughout the country.

“Whether it’s in the school districts educators, principals or in the medical field whether it’s in public service in the military to which my father is a Vietnam vet and I have an aunt who we are proud of who is the first African American female general in the US army,” said Lawyer Twillie.

Twillie says that his family began tracing back their lineage nearly 25 years ago and are now able to piece the lives of their ancestors back together.

He said slavery needs to be discussed more in the U.S. “It’s a very dark part of our history in America, but I am one of those people that does believe we should be talking about things that may be uncomfortable.”