Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. It is celebrated on June 19th every year and is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in most states. Its name is a shortened combination of the month and date — ‘June’ and ‘nineteenth’. Juneteenth. It was declared a federal holiday by President Joe Biden on June 17, 2021.
The history of Juneteenth dates back to June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced that all slaves in Texas were free. This announcement was made over two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, on January 1, 1863, which declared that all slaves in Confederate states were free. As Union soldiers reached the eleven Confederate states on different dates to announce the Emancipation Proclamation --- South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, Emancipation Day is celebrated on various dates.
Juneteenth celebrations began in Texas in 1866 and spread throughout the country as African Americans migrated to other states. The holiday is a time to celebrate freedom, reflect on the struggles of the past, and look toward a better future. It is also a time to recognize and honor the contributions of African Americans to the United States.
Juneteenth celebrations often include parades, picnics, and family gatherings. Many communities hold cultural events, such as music and dance performances, art exhibits, and historical reenactments. It is also common to have guest speakers and educational programs that focus on the history and significance of the holiday.
Juneteenth is an important holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in the United States and the triumph of freedom. To keep history factual and in proper context, it is crucial to note that after June 19, 1865, hundreds of thousands of African Americans remained enslaved in states outside of the Confederacy and in Native American territories. Chattel slavery was not legally banned in the United States until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on December 6, 1865. Juneteenth reminds us of the struggles of the past and the importance of continuing to work towards a more just and equal society. By recognizing and celebrating Juneteenth, we honor the contributions of African Americans to our country and acknowledge the ongoing fight for racial justice and equality.