Juneteenth became a celebration of freedom steeped in the centuries-long struggle to end racism in America
Juneteenth, also called Emancipation Day, or Juneteenth Independence Day, is celebrated on Saturday, June 19, 2021. Juneteenth is a short expression for “June Nineteenth and it commemorates the effective end of slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, African-Americans slaves were free in Galveston, Texas. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
In 1872, a group of Black ministers and businessmen purchased ten acres of land in Houston for the occasion, naming it Emancipation Park. The holiday received renewed interest with the rise of the civil rights Movement in the 1960s.
Nowadays people across the U.S. continue to celebrate the occasion. Juneteenth is considered the longest-running African American holiday. They held annual celebrations and even made pilgrimages to Galveston each Juneteenth.
Celebrations have continued across the United States into the 21st century and typically include prayer and religious services, speeches, educational events, family gatherings and picnics, and festivals with music, food, and dancing.
Recognition of Juneteenth varies across the United States.
State and National Holiday
Texas passed a bill on June 7, 1979 becoming the first state in the nation to make Juneteenth an official state holiday. And on June 15, 2021, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday. It still needs to pass through the House and be signed by President Biden in order to become law.
I look forward to bringing this bill to the Floor, and urge bipartisan support.
— Steny Hoyer (@LeaderHoyer) June 16, 2021
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