After the announcement of emancipation was made, many slaves "scattered in an effort to find family members, friends, old neighbors, and the like. When freed people tried to leave, many of them were beaten, lynched, or murdered. "They would catch freed slaves swimming across the Sabine River and shoot them," says former slave, Susan Merritt. This carried on for some time until a party, later known as the Juneteenth Party, was started to "help" slaves find structure.
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