What is Juneteenth and why is it celebrated?

Time Of Info By TOI Desk Report   June 18, 2024   Update on : June 18, 2024

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Photo: Courtesy/Freepik

On June 19, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln freed enslaved Africans in America. Two years after the president’s announcement, Union troops reached Galveston Bay of Texas with news of freedom. By executive decree, over 250,000 African Americans embraced freedom, known as Juneteenth or Freedom Day.

Since then, African Americans celebrate Juneteenth, the annual commemoration of the end of slavery in the US after the Civil War.

US President Joe Biden signed legislation in 2021, making Juneteenth a federal holiday. The move came after the day’s interest was renewed during the summer of 2020 and the nationwide protests. The demonstration led to the police killings of Black Americans, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. In recent years, Juneteenth celebrations have become more widespread across the US.

How did Juneteenth start?

Enslaved African Americans on June 19, 1865, were emancipated in Texas. People across the US have been celebrating the day, which is now a federal holiday. Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation nearly two and a half years earlier, on January 1, 1863.

This holiday is also known as Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day

How is it celebrated?

According to Juneteenth.com, former enslaved people and their families offer prayer and arranged family gatherings. Later, they also travel to Galveston for annual pilgrimages.

In 1872, a group of African American ministers and businessmen procured 10 acres of land in Huston and built Emancipation Park. Later, it was planned to hold the annual Juneteenth celebration. Galveston is known as a busy site for Juneteenth events over the years.

Galveston, 2024, will celebrate the holiday with a re-enactment march after dedicating a 5,000-square-foot mural in 2021. Organizers will hold a parade and music festival at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. They have planned to perform similar events in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Tulsa, Okla.

Meanwhile, on June 17 this year, Governor Laura Kelly attended the Kansas African American Affairs Commission to celebrate Juneteenth at the Statehouse, marking the first year Juneteenth as a state holiday.


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