MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Friday is Juneteenth, a day of pride and purpose and a call to action in the Memphis area.
On June 19th, 1865 the final American slaves were freed in Texas, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
To honor Juneteenth, a local organizer is encouraging customers support Memphis area Black owned businesses with online purchases throughout the day Friday.
Jennifer Purnell - the owner of September Nail Salon in Germantown - was especially reflective.
"Juneteenth is a very special day, it's a day to commemorate and it's a day to look ahead and it's a day about growing and developing and prospering even more,” Purnell said.
Purnell’s salon is one of more than 50 Memphis area Black owned businesses participating in The Juneteenth Shop Black Virtual Experience.
"This day could have such an impact,” Purnell said.
Customers are encourage to go online and support a variety of local Black owned businesses selling a variety of products.
Business owner Cynthia Daniels - who oversees Memphis Black Restaurant Week - set up the one-day online event.
"How can we use that date to move forward, to celebrate, to help a newer black business?” Daniels said.
The participating Black business owners said the customer support for the Juneteenth virtual event is even more critical, considering many are still slowly bouncing back during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We were closed for two months, even now as we are able to open, we are able to open at a 50% capacity,” Purnell said.
The Juneteenth Shop Black Virtual Experience will also include businesses from New York to Los Angeles.