Happy Juneteenth

published: June 19th, 2022 by in Holidays

Even though many of us first heard of Juneteenth over the past few years, it’s a holiday that has been celebrated for over 150 years. Juneteenth is a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It is also called Emancipation Day or Juneteenth Independence Day. The name “Juneteenth” references the date of the holiday, combining the words “June” and “nineteenth.”

In 1863, during the American Civil War, Pres. Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared more than three million slaves living in the Confederate states to be free. More than two years would pass, however, before the news reached African Americans living in Texas. It was not until Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, that the state’s residents finally learned that slavery had been abolished. The former slaves immediately began to celebrate with prayer, feasting, song, and dance. The following year, on June 19, the first official Juneteenth celebrations took place in Texas. 

Celebration of Freedom

Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States. Legislation establishing the holiday was passed by Congress on June 16, 2021 and signed into law by U.S. President Joe Biden the following day. Juneteenth had previously been established as a state holiday in Texas in 1980, with a number of other states later declaring it a state holiday or day of observance.

Celebrating Juneteenth As a Family

Traditional Juneteenth celebrations are usually outside, owing to the warm summer weather, and include cookouts, sports, parades, festivals, musical performances, and more. Juneteenth is also about supporting Black Americans, buying from Black businesses, learning Black history, and staying up-to-date on the struggles toward racial justice that continue to happen in this country.

Listen to the Emancipation Proclamation

Juneteenth wouldn’t be possible without the emancipation of slaves, which officially happened on January 1, 1863, when President Lincoln gave his famous “Emancipation Proclamation” speech. You can listen to this historic speech as a family on Audiobooks.com or on YouTube.

You can use this opportunity to put this moment into historical context for your children, emphasizing that this speech was just the beginning and that the struggle toward a more equitable world for Black Americans is ongoing to this day.

However you choose to celebrate today, we want to wish everyone a great day/year.

Laura Goguet

Community Manager