What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is Friday, June 19, a holiday that is arguably as important to our nation as the Fourth of July, since it commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved people of Texas, then the most remote region of the Confederacy, finally learned slavery had been abolished and that they were free.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, a Union General rode into Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended, and slaves had been freed. Though the Emancipation Proclamation became law in January 1863, it could not be enforced in places still under confederate control. Thus it took over 2 years for approximately 250,000 Texan slaves to learn their freedom had been secured by the government.

The holiday received its name by combining June and 19. The day is also sometimes called “Juneteenth Independence Day,” “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day.”

CLICK HERE and HERE to learn even more about Juneteenth. And check out this article for even more information on how Juneteenth is being celebrated this year.

WHY IS IT Important?
Juneteenth marks a date of major significance in American history and shows us that freedom and racial equality have always been a hard-fought battle for black Americans – a battle that continues to this day.
CLICK HERE to learn more about black history, and educate yourself on racial injustice and how to be an anti-racist ally. And check out our post Be The Change: Organizations & Resources To Fight Racial Injustice.

There are many ways you can observe and celebrate this holiday, from supporting black businesses to educating yourself, to using your voice to spread love. You can also take time to share the stories of black people you admire, and learn about prominent black figures in American history.
Check out our post 24 Ways To Support Black-Owned Businesses and 5 Ways You Can Help Support The Black Lives Matter Protestors From Home.

And CLICK HERE to learn more about 100 prominent Black Americans influencing culture and bringing about change.

Juneteenth celebration in 1900 at Eastwoods Park. Credit: Austin History Center.

Thank you for reading!

Have a great day,
ProAct Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee

Sources: Bobby Berk and Wikipedia