Today, many Americans will see this day, June 19th, as a regular Tuesday, but many African Americans will celebrate this day known as Juneteenth. Many more will question what is Juneteenth and why is it celebrated?
On June 19th, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed and issued by President Abraham Lincoln, which granted the freedom of more than 3 million slaves in the South, many slaves were unaware that slavery was abolished. Union Army Major General Gordon Granger, took his soldiers to Galveston, Texas to inform everyone that slavery was no longer in America.
The Emancipation Proclamation officially ended slavery on January 1st, 1863, however due to the Civil War and the South’s rebellion, it wasn’t properly enforced.
Since General Granger’s announcement brought good news to formerly enslaved blacks, celebrations took place, making June 19th, 1865 the day that Juneeteenth was born.
So why aren’t more African American celebrating?
In 1980, the state of Texas declared Juneteenth an official holiday, but it still goes unnoticed by majority of the country.
Juneteenth is not only a day of celebration but also a day to remember when the evils of slavery ended in America for our ancestors.
As many celebrate this day, let us remember how far African Americans have come, let us remember and celebrate General Granger for being the driving force in spreading the word that slavery had ended, and let us not forget to reflect on who we are as a community but also as a nation.