Celebrating Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom

Celebrations of Juneteenth

People of U.S. celebrate Juneteenth, or June 19th, as the African-American Emancipation Day in all fifty states since 1980 and in federal legislation since 1994. This holiday, however, predates all of that recognition by several decades. Juneteenth celebrates the day that Texas slaves found out they were no longer slaves in 1865—more than two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and more than two years after Union soldiers led by General Gordon Granger arrived to tell them so.

Introduction

Juneteenth has been an American tradition since 1865. This is a day where African Americans come together and celebrate their freedom from slavery. People make big parties, festivals, and events to commemorate the end of slavery in America. The celebrations are held on June 19th every year on June 19th because that was when emancipation was announced for all states south of Union control by General Granger (Union general) in Galveston, Texas on June 19th, 1865.

Celebrations 

People have gatherings every year with family members or friends to have fun and eat good food. They play music, dance to African beats, enjoy drinks like lemonade or alcoholic beverages. If they want they can get kinky by eating watermelon which is a traditional part at these celebrations.

Historical Significance 

To best understand today’s  modern day celebration, we must look at its history. The word Juneteenth comes from a shortening of June nineteenth. June 19th is significant because it marked two years after Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to officially announce that America had ended slavery. Shortly thereafter, slaves in other areas began celebrating their freedom as well and those celebrations evolved into what we know as Juneteenth today.

How to celebrate?

More than a century after People were free from slavery in the United States, African Americans continued to live under legal codes that denied them basic freedoms. The last state to abolish slavery was Texas, which finally freed its last slaves on June 19, 1865.

Where did it originate?

president-lincoln's-emancipation-Proclamation
President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation

June 19th, 1865 was when word spread that all slaves in Texas were free. Even though it had been nearly a year since President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, news did not reach Texas until then. June 19th became a day to celebrate freedom for African Americans and their ancestors who got freedom from slavery. Today, people throughout America commemorate that historical event with festivals and other celebrations.


Modern significance

The holiday was founded on June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas. General Gordon Granger announced that all slaves were now free, and slaves celebrated by attacking and killing white men who had previously enslaved them. To preserve order and calm, Union soldiers did not take part in these attacks—but they also did not stop them from happening. This day became known as Juneteenth—and is consider this to be a very important event for black Americans in America today. Of course it’s also an important day for any American who believes in freedom, civil rights and justice for all! But what does it mean to celebrate?

Origins at Galveston, Texas

How did Juneteenth get its name? The holiday, which commemorates the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to free African-American slaves in that state, began as a celebration of emancipation. It wasn’t until 20 years later that it came to be known as Juneteenth. In 1866 Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston and issued an order stating The people of Texas are informed that … [all] slaves are free. The news spread gradually to other areas of Texas, but many former slave owners refused to believe it.

Did you know

June 19 is an unofficial holiday known as Juneteenth. It commemorates when slaves in Texas got information that they were free—even though other states got freedom much earlier. The date originated with President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, which freed slaves living in Confederate territories. This had little impact on enslaved people living in Union-controlled areas, though; instead, it was due to General Gordon Granger and his General Order No.

 

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