Welcome readers to another entry to my Black History 365 series where I present historical events in black history some that are well known and others that are not acknowledged enough for younger generations to be aware of. With that said, this post will explain the significance and history behind Juneteenth.
Juneteenth is an unofficial holiday in America but is recognized as an official state holiday in Texas. The holiday is celebrated on the 19th of June every year and it commemorates the freedom of slaves on June 19th, 1865 in the state of Texas. It was all due to the announcement from Union general Gorgon Granger who read federal orders to the Texan slaves who still believed that they were slaves in this land of America while slaves in other states were free two half years prior due to the formally issued emancipation proclamation on January 1st, 1863. In regards to that, after the American civil war ended with the defeat of the confederate states to the northern union on April 9th, 1865, Texas was the most remote state of the slave states, and since they had a low presence of Union troops the news didn’t reach the slaves in time for them to be aware of their freedom.
The inaugural celebration of their freedom which would be named “Juneteenth” was celebrated the following year of 1866. At first, the celebration was held in church – centered community gatherings in Texas but it would eventually spread across the south and became more commercialized using food festivals in the 1920s and 1930s. Fast forward to the civil rights movement in the 1960s the holiday was overshadowed by the relentless fight for civil rights but it was still remembered. However, in the 1970s there was a resurgence of the holiday in terms of African American artists adding themes of the holiday into their arts, and from there and as of today (21st century) Juneteenth is celebrated in a lot of U.S. cities, 48 out of the 50 to be exact. Even though it is not an official U.S. holiday, activists are campaigning for the U.S. Congress to recognize it as a national holiday.
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