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    Juneteenth is now a national holiday. How did it come to pass?

    The United States government is catching up with Black people who have been commemorating the end of slavery in the United States for generations with a day called "Juneteenth."

    Juneteenth is now a national holiday. How did it come to pass?

    Politics Jun 17, 2021 5:04 PM EDT

    The U.S. government is catching up with Black people who have been commemorating the end of slavery in the United States for generations with a day called “Juneteenth.”

    President Joe Biden signed a bill Thursday that was passed by Congress to set aside Juneteenth, or June 19th, as a federal holiday. “I hope this is the beginning of a change in the way we deal with one another,” he said.

    The Senate approved the bill unanimously; only 14 House Republicans — many representing states that were part of the slave-holding Confederacy in the 19th century — opposed the measure.

    What is this federal holiday, and what is its history? Here’s a look:

    The origins

    The celebration started with the freed slaves of Galveston, Texas. Although the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in the South in 1863, it could not be enforced in many places until after the end of the Civil War in 1865.

    Laura Smalley, freed from a plantation near Bellville, Texas, remembered in a 1941 interview that her former master had gone to fight in the Civil War and came home without telling his slaves what had happened.

    “Old master didn’t tell, you know, they was free,” Smalley said at the time. “I think now they say they worked them, six months after that. Six months. And turn them loose on the 19th of June. That’s why, you know, we celebrate that day.”

    Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops arrived at Galveston on June 19, 1865, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. That was more than two months after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia.

    Granger delivered General Order No. 3, which said: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

    The next year, the now-free people started celebrating Juneteenth in Galveston. Its observance has continued around the nation and the world since. Events include concerts, parades and readings of the Emancipation Proclamation.

    What does ‘Juneteenth’ mean?

    The term Juneteenth is a blend of the words June and nineteenth. The holiday has also been called Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day.

    Often celebrated at first with church picnics and speeches, the holiday spread across the nation and internationally as Black Texans moved elsewhere.

    The vast majority of states recognize Juneteenth as a holiday or a day of recognition, like Flag Day, and most states hold celebrations. Juneteenth is a paid holiday for state employees in Texas, New York, Virginia and Washington, and hundreds of companies give workers a day off for Juneteenth.

    Why now?

    The national reckoning over race helped set the stage for Juneteenth to become the first new federal holiday since 1983, when Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created.

    The bill was sponsored by Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and had 60 co-sponsors. Bipartisan support emerged as lawmakers struggle to overcome divisions that are still simmering following the police killing last year of George Floyd in Minnesota.

    Supporters of the holiday have worked to make sure Juneteenth celebrators don’t forget why the day exists.

    “In 1776 the country was freed from the British, but the people were not all free,” Dee Evans, national director of communications of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, said in 2019. “June 19, 1865, was actually when the people and the entire country was actually free.”

    There’s also sentiment to use the day to remember the sacrifices that were made for freedom in the United States — especially in these racially and politically charged days. Said Para LaNell Agboga, museum site coordinator at the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center in Austin, Texas: “Our freedoms are fragile, and it doesn’t take much for things to go backward.”

    Source : www.pbs.org


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    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    For other uses, see Juneteenth (disambiguation).


    Juneteenth festival in Milwaukee, 2019

    Also called

    Juneteenth National Independence Day

    Jubilee Day

    Emancipation Day (TX)

    Freedom Day

    Black Independence Day

    Observed by United States

    Type Federal

    Significance Emancipation of slaves in states in rebellion against the Union

    Observances African American history, culture and progress

    Date June 19[a] Frequency Annually First time

    June 19, 1866 (celebration)

    June 19, 2021 (federal holiday)[b]

    Related to Emancipation Day

    Juneteenth[c] (officially Juneteenth National Independence Day, and also known as, Jubilee Day,[3] Emancipation Day,[4][5] Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day[6]) is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating emancipation of enslaved African Americans. It is also often observed for celebrating African-American culture. Originating in Galveston, Texas, it has been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States since 1865. The day was recognized as a federal holiday on June 17, 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law.[7][8] Juneteenth's commemoration is on the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865, announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas,[9] which was the last state of the Confederacy with institutional slavery.

    President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, issued on January 1, 1863, had freed the enslaved people in Texas and all the other Southern secessionist states of the Confederacy except for parts of states not in rebellion.[10][11] Enforcement of the Proclamation generally relied upon the advance of Union troops. Texas, as the most remote state of the former Confederacy, had seen an expansion of slavery and had a low presence of Union troops as the American Civil War ended; thus, enforcement there had been slow and inconsistent prior to Granger's announcement.[9] Although the Emancipation Proclamation declared an end to slavery in the Confederate States, it did not end slavery in states that remained in the Union. For a short while after the fall of the Confederacy, slavery remained legal in two of the Union border states – Delaware and Kentucky.[12][13][d] Those enslaved people were freed with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished chattel slavery nationwide on December 6, 1865. The last enslaved people present in the continental United States were freed when the enslaved people held by the Choctaw (in the Indian Territories), who had sided with the Confederacy, were released in 1866.[14][15]

    Celebrations date to 1866, at first involving church-centered community gatherings in Texas. They spread across the South and became more commercialized in the 1920s and 1930s, often centering on a food festival. Participants in the Great Migration out of the South carried their celebrations to other parts of the country. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, these celebrations were eclipsed by the nonviolent determination to achieve civil rights, but grew in popularity again in the 1970s with a focus on African American freedom and African-American arts. Beginning with Texas by proclamation in 1938, and by legislation in 1979, each U.S. state and the District of Columbia have formally recognized the holiday in some way. With its adoption in certain parts of Mexico, the holiday became an international holiday. Juneteenth is celebrated by the Mascogos, descendants of Black Seminoles who escaped from slavery in 1852 and settled in Coahuila, Mexico.[16][17]

    Celebratory traditions often include public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, singing traditional songs such as "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Lift Every Voice and Sing", and the reading of works by noted African-American writers, such as Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou. Some Juneteenth celebrations also include rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, park parties, historical reenactments, and Miss Juneteenth contests. When Juneteenth became a federal holiday on June 17, 2021,[18][19] it was the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was adopted in 1983.


    1 Celebrations and traditions

    2 History 2.1 Early history

    2.1.1 The Civil War and celebrations of emancipation

    2.1.2 End of slavery in Texas

    2.1.3 Early Juneteenth celebrations

    2.1.4 Decline during Jim Crow

    2.2 Revival 2.2.1 1960s–1980s

    2.2.2 Prayer breakfast and commemorative celebrations

    2.2.3 Official statewide recognitions

    2.2.4 Juneteenth in pop culture and mass media

    2.2.5 2020 Trump campaign scheduling controversy

    2.2.6 Becoming a federal holiday

    3 Legal observance 3.1 State and local

    Source : en.wikipedia.org

    What Is Juneteenth?

    On June 19, 1865, enslaved African Americans in Texas were told they were free. A century and a half later, people across the U.S. continue to celebrate the day, which is now a federal holiday.

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    Source : www.nytimes.com

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