On June 19, Americans will celebrate Juneteenth, a public holiday commemorating the day news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas, with block parties, barbecues and educational events.
As Juneteenth celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation, which only freed slaves in the South, the 13th Amendment is what officially ended slavery in the United States.
Holidays are a little different from most years.
Millions of Americans took to the streets to protest racial injustice last summer in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other black Americans. The protest movement has sparked an ongoing dialogue about systemic racism and police brutality.
The protests have also drawn attention to the importance of Juneteenth, as companies such as Nike, Twitter and Uber give paid days off to their employees.
With 144 million Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19, many will meet in person after virtually celebrating in 2020.
Here’s what you need to know about the history of Juneteenth and the celebrations taking place this year.
What is Juneteenth?
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger informed a reluctant community in Galveston, Texas, that President Abraham Lincoln had freed slaves in the rebel states two and a half years earlier. He urged residents to comply with the directive.
Although Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation came into effect on January 1, 1863, people who owned slaves were responsible for telling them they were free, and some ignored the order until Union troops arrived to enforce it, according to Cliff Robinson, founder of Juneteenth.com. Texas is the last Confederate state to announce the proclamation.
Although the history of the emancipation of Texas is the best known, other significant events in the history of emancipation took place on and around this date. Steve Williams, president of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, said the first known Juneteenth celebrations began in 1866 and spread across the country as African Americans migrated to new cities.
His grave was paved and his story barely known:She was the first black person to be freed by Lincoln, long before his presidency.
From 2022:Oregon State Senate votes to recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday
President Joe Biden on Thursday signed a law marking June 17 as a federal holiday, with immediate effect. Before Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, Juneteenth was recognized as a state or ceremonial holiday in 48 states and Washington, DC.
In pop culture, Juneteenth’s celebrations have been seen on TV shows such as “Black-ish” and “Atlanta”.
What is the flag of Juneteenth?
The original Juneteenth Flag was created in 1997 by Ben Haith, the founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation. The flag has a blue and red stripe with a white star in the middle, an outline surrounding the star, and an arc that runs the full width of the flag.
According to Oprah Daily, the middle star is believed to represent the “Lone Star State” of Texas where Juneteenth was first celebrated. The arc is meant to symbolize a new horizon of opportunity and future for the black community, and the outline surrounding the star is meant to signify a new beginning for all. The colors of the flag are the same as the American flag to show that the former slaves and their descendants are also free Americans.
The flag underwent revisions in 2000, according to the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, and the date “June 19, 1865” was added in 2007.
Haith initiated the first Juneteenth flag raising ceremony in Boston in 2000. Flag raising ceremonies have become an essential part of the celebration at States, including Tennessee and Texas.
What celebrations are taking place?
People across the country will be celebrating June 17 with parties, music, festivals and parades.
New York will kick off its annual three-day summit on June 17 on Friday, which 5,000 people attended in person in 2019 and virtually 20,000 in 2020. The festival will feature talented artists, a health screening center and wellness, educational activities for children and much more.
The Smithsonian Museum of African American Culture and History in Washington, DC, will host displays on the history and significance of Juneteenth and the stories that celebrate the wisdom of the ancients.
In addition to the celebrations, Juneteenth is a time for reflection and conversation. You can listen to a dialogue centered on race and equality and contribute to the conversation in a positive way. Supporting black-owned businesses, listening to black artists, reading books written by black poets and authors, and donating to organizations are other ways to celebrate Juneteenth.