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Former First Lady Michelle Obama commemorated Juneteenth on Friday with a statement suggesting that those who have protested — in the past and present — have “led us forward.”

“Even though the story has never been tidy, and Black folks have had to march and fight for every inch of our freedom, our story is nonetheless one of progress,” Obama said, referring to her grandfathers, whom she said were the grandchildren of enslaved people.

They grew up in the Jim Crow south and “migrated north in search of a better life,” she continued:

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