Juneteenth is a holiday celebrated on June 19th every year in the United States to commemorate the end of slavery in the country. It is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Emancipation Day. This holiday marks the day when General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced that all slaves were free. Juneteenth has become a significant day of celebration and reflection for Black Americans, and it is gaining more recognition across the country. In this article, we will discuss what Juneteenth is, its history, and how it is celebrated.
What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It is a combination of the words “June” and “nineteenth” and is sometimes referred to as African American Independence Day. The holiday is primarily celebrated in Texas, where it originated, but it is now recognized in most states as a day of observance.
The History of this day
Juneteenth has its roots in Galveston, Texas, where on June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger arrived with 2,000 Union troops to take control of the state and enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been signed two and a half years earlier by President Abraham Lincoln. The Emancipation Proclamation declared that all slaves in Confederate-held territory were to be set free. However, it was not until after the end of the Civil War and the arrival of Union troops in Texas that the news of the proclamation was fully enforced.
On June 19th, 1865, General Granger stood on the balcony of the Ashton Villa in Galveston and read aloud a General Order announcing that “all slaves are free.” This announcement marked the end of slavery in Texas and effectively freed more than 250,000 enslaved African Americans in the state.
Celebration of day
Juneteenth celebrations typically involve family gatherings, parades, picnics, and festivals. Traditional foods such as barbecue, red soda water, and watermelon are often served at Juneteenth celebrations. Many cities and towns hold public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation or reenactments of the announcement made by General Granger.
Juneteenth celebrations often feature music, including spirituals, gospel, blues, and jazz. Traditional African American dances, such as the ring shout, are also sometimes performed. Many Juneteenth celebrations also include educational programs, such as lectures, art exhibits, and historical reenactments.
Recognition of Juneteenth
Juneteenth has been recognized as a state holiday in Texas since 1980. In recent years, there has been a growing movement to make Juneteenth a national holiday. On June 16th, 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill into law making Juneteenth a federal holiday. This means that all federal employees will have the day off and that it will be a paid holiday.
Juneteenth is significant for several reasons. It is a celebration of freedom and a reminder of the struggles and sacrifices that Black Americans have made. Juneteenth also marks the end of slavery in the United States, which had a profound impact on the country’s history.
Juneteenth is also a time to reflect on the ongoing struggles for racial justice and equality in the United States. It is a reminder that although slavery may have ended over 150 years ago. The effects of slavery and racism are still felt today. Juneteenth provides an opportunity for individuals and communities to come together to address these issues.