Juneteenth – A Bit of History


By Jennifer Jacobus, PHRca, SDEA Director of HR Services

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is an important holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. Here are some interesting facts about Juneteenth:

  • Juneteenth marks the date of June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of slavery, nearly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln.
  • Celebratory Traditions: Juneteenth is celebrated with various activities, including parades, cookouts, family gatherings, music, and dancing. It is a time to reflect on the history of slavery, honor the contributions of African Americans, and promote education and self-improvement.
  • Legislation and Recognition: On June 17, 2021, Juneteenth was officially recognized as a federal holiday in the United States, following the passage of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act. This makes it the first new federal holiday established since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.
  • Educational Significance: Juneteenth serves as an opportunity to educate people about the history of slavery, the struggles faced by African Americans, and the ongoing fight for equality. It promotes dialogue, understanding, and reflection on the impact of slavery in American society.

Juneteenth holds immense cultural and historical significance, and its recognition as a federal holiday has further solidified its importance in the fabric of the United States.

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