Learn more about this important U.S. holiday and its significance in this post.
While Juneteenth is the oldest holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, it’s still not broadly understood (or even broadly known). The occasion promotes the need for people of all races, religions and backgrounds to honestly acknowledge events and circumstances that shaped and continue to influence society today. Learn more about this important day below!
So… What is Juneteenth?
On June 19, 1865, nearly two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, General Granger and his Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to read General Order Number 3, which began by saying:
“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”
Since then, June 19—also known as Juneteenth or Emancipation Day—has been celebrated as a day commemorating the liberation of enslaved African Americans. On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, making Juneteenth a recognized federal holiday.
How it evolved.
In its early years, Juneteenth wasn’t celebrated widely outside of African American communities. In some cases, Junteenth activities were barred from using public property, so church grounds or rural areas were the only places people could gather, which in turn limited awareness and participation.
Today, Juneteenth is a rapidly growing day of observance honoring African American freedom, achievement and cultures. Block parties, cookouts and educational events are held around the country uplifting ideals in support of racial equity and community.
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