June 19 (Juneteenth) is an annual holiday that marks the end of slavery and today, in 1865, news of the liberation of blacks reached people in the most remote parts of the former Confederation of Gelberston in Texas.
In 2021, today became the first federal holiday declared by Congress in nearly four decades. The bipartisan law that set the holiday was signed by President Joe Biden on June 17, giving June 19 the same status as American Remembrance Day, Army Veterans Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and other federal holidays.
For decades the date has been celebrated at family events and events such as processions and public readings of the Declaration of Liberation, but in recent years has received more national attention – especially after worldwide demonstrations that ignited in 2020 after the deaths of George Floyd, Bryona Taylor, Ahmud Arberry and Richard Brooks As well as the national discourse on how the police operate in the U.S. Amid calls for racial equality, more companies, including Nike, Twitter and Spotify, have begun celebrating the holiday.
What does Juneteenth mean?
The holiday, also known as Liberation Day, Black Independence Day or Jubilee Day, recognizes a date when news of liberation finally reached Galveston on June 19, 1865.
Nearly two months after the end of the Civil War, General Gordon Granger, along with more than 1,800 federal troops, came to take over the country and secure the freedom of the last remaining slaves in the deepest parts of the South.
Although the Declaration of Liberation – an order that “all people held as slaves” be released – was signed by Lincoln in 1863, and the surrender of General Robert E. Lee to Apomatox, Virginia marked the end of the Civil War in April 1865, the news spread slowly and often met with opposition from The owners of the plantations where the slaves worked.
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which introduced the prohibition of slavery into the Constitution, was ratified in December 1865. But in small cells in the country, the use of African-Americans as slaves continued for several more years.
When did Juneteenth become a federal holiday?
President Biden signed the bipartisan legislation and turned June 19 into a federal holiday on June 17, 2021. The law was passed unanimously in the Senate and approved in the House of Representatives 415-14.
Leaders in Congress from both parties have designated the holiday as an important tribute to the recognition of those who have suffered because of slavery in the U.S. and as a step towards racial reconciliation.
“By gaining a more national and even global perspective, the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten, because our roots are tied to this fertile soil, from which a national day of pride grows,” said Housewife Sheila Jackson Lee (a Democrat from Texas) who initiated the bill.
June 19 is the first federal holiday created by Congress since 1983, when lawmakers decided Monday, January 3, would be Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in honor of the human rights leader.
Texas was the first state, in 1980, to declare June 19 a holiday. Nearly all of the 50 states and the District of Columbia mark or recognize June 19 today. In Illinois and North Dakota, too, the holiday became an official holiday in 2021, and in Hawaii, lawmakers passed a law to mark the holiday. South Dakota remains the last state to have no official June 19 mark, according to the Congressional Research Service.
When did the federal holiday take effect?
The federal holiday went into effect immediately. Because the first time it was celebrated came out on Saturday, most federal workers were given Friday, June 18 as a day off.
Many countries were quick to give some public employees a day off, and employers from banks like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America to companies like Black & Decker were among those rushed to send employees holiday holiday notices. Some allowed workers to go on vacation Friday just hours after the announcement in Washington. Several universities, such as Ohio State, have announced cancellations of classes.
The stock markets, which close on many federal holidays, remained open on Friday. The New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ will decide in coordination with the financial industry whether to close on June 19 next year, stock exchange representatives said.
The U.S. Postal Service also continued to operate. “We are part of the vital infrastructure in the country and our customers trust us to provide our vital service,” said Deputy Chief of Staff and Personnel Manager at Douglas Tolino. “Closing our operations without giving sufficient time in advance would have led to disruptions in operations,” he said. Tolino said recognition of the holiday and its commemoration would come after discussions with unions, the postal administration and others.
How do you celebrate Juneteenth?
Hundreds of official events are taking place across the United States and around the world in honor of June 19. When the announcement of slave liberation finally reached Galveston in 1865, newly elected blacks celebrated with prayers, dances and communal meals. The first time the holiday was celebrated was a family gathering. Black liberty by reading parts of the Declaration of Liberty and holding religious ceremonies.
After the corona plague limited the celebrations to 2020, big celebrations, processions and festivals were set for this year. The June 19 Scholarship Queen Parade, a long-standing tradition in the Dallas and Fort Worth area giving competitors scholarships, was one of the first events on the subject, in early June.
In Atlanta we planned a three-day parade at the city’s Olympic Park. In Washington, The Smithsonian Museum of African-American Culture and History has planned two days of presentations, stories and photo exhibitions that will highlight holiday-related topics.
At Galveston, the celebrations will include the dedication of a new mural commemorating the event. The painting was painted by artist Reginald Adams and his assistant. The mural, measuring about 1,700 square meters, depicts the arrival of black slaves in the United States, Harriet Tabman, President Abraham Lincoln holding the Declaration of Release and General Granger producing Order No. 3, in which he informed the State of Texas that The slaves are freed. Name of the painting: “Absolute equality”.