Juneteenth: The momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement that propelled Juneteen into the national spotlight draws on decades of pressure by activists and politicians to be recognized for the historic occasion.
The momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement that propelled Juneteen into the national spotlight draws on decades of pressure by activists and politicians to be recognized for the historic occasion. Last year, Juneteenth became the latest federal holiday in America—the first holiday to be approved since Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day in 1983.
With Juneteen now being a national holiday, many public and private sector employees enjoy an extra day off work, while brands and corporations take advantage of the event with festive marketing campaigns. But there’s more to Juneteenth than a long weekend and branded products.
As black Americans continue to face the same challenges and inequalities that prompted many to take to the streets in 2020, it’s worth reflecting on the history behind the holiday.
It celebrates the end of slavery
Juneteenth – also known as Juneteenth Independence Day, Independence Day and Emancipation Day – commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.
Combining the words June and nineteenth, it marks June 19, 1865: the day when Union Army Major General Gordon Granger boarded Galveston, Texas and issued General Order Number 3, declaring that enslaved African Americans were free.
How is it celebrated?
What began as an informal celebration of freedom by locals in Galveston eventually turned into a widespread commemoration of the end of slavery as African Americans in Texas moved to other parts of the country? Today, many African Americans mark Juneteenth with parties, parades, and gatherings with family and friends.