While, we hope to educate you in this short article. It does NOT completely share the fascinating history of Juneteenth and why it’s important today.
Juneteenth is an annual holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. The holiday is named after June 19, 1865. To mark the day when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, and informed those there that the Civil War had ended and that all slaves were free.
However, it was not until 2021 that the United States approved a long-awaited bill that would make this a national holiday. Here is an overview of why Juneteenth is a very important day.
Why Is Juneteenth Important Today
Juneteenth is a representative day of freedom. It is regarded as the oldest celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Sometimes referred to as another Independence Day, for African-Americans, it is the longest-running of all African-American holidays.
As the story goes, some 250,000 enslaved people only learned of their freedom after Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, and told the slaves there that the president had issued a proclamation freeing them. This was about 2 months the Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, VA.
Juneteenth is a federal holiday widely celebrated by African Americans across the country. In recent years, the holiday has also gained popularity among other groups as a way to recognize the struggles of African Americans and places emphasis on teaching about African-American cultural heritage. Today, Juneteenth is a time for joyous celebration, but it also serves as a reminder of the ongoing fight for change, equality and justice.
The history of Juneteenth
The news that the Civil War had ended was something that millions of people wanted to hear. While this news may have come as a relief to many, it also brought with it a period of great uncertainty. With freedom came the need to rebuild lives and families that had been torn apart by slavery.
The name “Juneteenth” references the date of the holiday, combining the words “June” and “nineteenth.
Juneteenth marks our country’s second Independence Day. Although it has long been celebrated in the African American community, this monumental holiday remained largely unknown to most Americans.
For African Americans, Juneteenth has come to represent not only a day of celebration but also a time to reflect on the difficult journey that has led to this moment. As the African Americans remember the past, they are also reminded of the promise of freedom that still lies ahead.
What Does Juneteenth Represent
Not only does Juneteenth represent the day that slavery ended, in conjunction with the end of the Civil War, but it is also representative of the United States acknowledging what they had done wrong in the past. Senate Majority Leader Schumer stated that it is representative of the ongoing work within the United States to properly represent African-Americans in context with the Constitution and the Emancipation Proclamation. In fact, back in 1863 when the Emancipation Proclamation became official courtesy of President Abraham Lincoln, it took over two years for any impact to be seen. Even less was seen in the state of Texas for several reasons.
Juneteenth In Texas
Part of the problem with enforcing the Emancipation Proclamation was the scarcity of union troops located in the state of Texas. There was also the need for harvesting crops which were quite large during that time. Despite the fact that Gen. Lee had officially surrendered, slave owners did not want to abide by what Pres. Lincoln signed. This resistance was overcome after a period of 30 months, leading to the eventuality of all slaves being free. This motivated African-Americans to finally make the trek into the northern territories, reconnecting with family members in states like Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana which led to June 19 becoming Juneteenth from that point forward.
In 1979, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday; several others followed suit over the years. In June 2021, Congress passed a resolution establishing Juneteenth as a national holiday; President Biden signed it into law on June 17, 2021.
How is Juneteenth celebrated?
The first Juneteenth event in 1866 was celebrated with food, singing, and the reading of spirituals — and it commemorated newly freed Black people taking pride in their progress. Today, Juneteenth celebrations span the world, with the global diaspora adopting the day as one to recognize emancipation at large.
Every year on June 19, African Americans across the country continue to celebrate Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. It is an important day of remembrance for the African American community.
Today, Juneteenth gatherings typically involve food, music, and dancing. Many people also take the opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made since 1865 and to recommit themselves to the fight for justice and equality. As Juneteenth becomes more widely recognized, it is hoped that these celebrations will help to promote understanding and unity among all Americans.
Why Juneteenth is important to celebrate?
For many African Americans, Juneteenth represents a time to think about their ancestors' struggles and celebrate their own achievements. The holiday is a reminder of the importance of fighting for social justice and equality. Every year, Juneteenth celebrations are held across the country, featuring different types of dishes, music, and the African Americans dance their heart out. It’s a day of coming together and remembering that freedom is something to be cherished.
How you can celebrate Juneteenth in your community
There are a number of ways that you can celebrate Juneteenth in your community. One way is to attend or organize a parade or march. This is a great way to show pride in your African American heritage and to raise awareness about the importance of this day. Another way to celebrate Juneteenth is to hold an outing or barbecue. Make it a day to enjoy good food and company while also learning more about the history of this important day.
Juneteenth is an unforgettable day in American history, and it should be celebrated each year. While there is still work to be done, the African Americans should all take pride in how far they have come. They should make it a day to remember the sacrifices of those who came before them and made lives easier for African Americans.
Problems Associated With Celebrating Juneteenth
Although the freedom for African-Americans had been officially decreed, there were still issues regarding their participation within the general population. The celebration for Juneteenth had to be held in locations such as churches, or indistinctly rural areas, because of the prohibition against African-Americans using public facilities. Over the course of several decades, African Americans became landowners, including the acquisition of Emancipation Park located in Houston Texas. Over the course of many years, states began to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday, yet it was not deemed so at the federal level.
In recent times, only inhibited by the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrations for Juneteenth were planned for Washington DC. Since that time, Juneteenth has now been certified as a federal holiday like many of the others that we also celebrate. Although it has taken well over 100 years to achieve this goal, it was always celebrated by those that understood its meaning. It is an important day that truly represents the struggles for freedom and African-Americans faced, and their eventual victory over the toils and tribulations the experienced as slaves.