What is Juneteenth? Juneteenth is America’s second Independence Day that honors the day of the end of slavery. Juneteenth marks the anniversary (June 19, 1865) of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, just two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in 1863. Although in the South, however, that was not the case because this didn’t get put into effect until the Civil War ended in 1865.




The History




More than two months after the Civil War ended and Robert E. Lee surrendered in Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant, the news reached Galveston, Texas. Gordon Granger, a Union general, informed the enslaved African Americans of their freedom by delivering General Order No. 3 and announcing the end of the Civil War. Six months later, the 13th Amendment was ratified by Georgia, permanently abolishing slavery. The following year Texas started celebrations with concerts, parades, and even reading from the Emancipation Proclamation. But then, in the 1900s, these celebrations declined, but the celebration of Juneteenth became very popular again in the 1960s, giving the Civil Rights Movement.


Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, Black Independence Day, Jubilee Day, and Juneteenth Independence Day. With it taking years just after the Emancipation Proclamation, we see that slavery was a protracted process experienced unjustly in the United States. It began the celebration of the process of liberation. This holiday allows us to honor African American freedom and reflect on the impact of slavery and how we can move forward.





The Flag




In 1997, Ben Haith, the founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation, designed the Juneteenth flag. The flag contains a star, to represent Texas, and the U.S. flag colors red, white, and blue, to emphasize African Americans’ citizenship. The date June 19, 1865, was later added in 2007. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday.






How To Celebrate





Here are some ways that you can celebrate Juneteenth:

  • Host a backyard party
  • Watch Black TV shows and movies (Miss Juneteenth, Atlanta, A Different World)
  • Tour a Black culture museum
  • Read books by Black authors
  • Donate to organizations and charities
  • Learn more about the history of Juneteenth
  • Support Black-Owned businesses







Juneteenth celebration





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