June 19 – or Juneteenth – is a very important holiday, as it marks the end of Slavery in the United States. Get all the info on the date called ‘America’s second Independence Day.’
1. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. It’s probably the most important American holiday…that not every American knows. June 19th, or “Juneteenth,” has come to symbolize the end of slavery in the U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, announcing the end of slavery in the country, but the country was still in the throes of the Civil War. The rebelling Confederacy wasn’t going to recognize something the North decreed regarding slaves. When the war finally ended on May 9, 1865, owners were tasked with telling their slaves that they were free.
As argued in the video airing on Black-ish in 2017, Texas landowners may have withheld this information so they make use of the slave labor for one more harvest. On June 19, 1865 – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation – when Major Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, informing the residents that slavery was over, according to USA Today. This day, June 19 – or Juneteenth – has become symbolic of the day slavery ended in the U.S.
2. It’s not a federal holiday…yet. Texas, in 1979, became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday, according to Fast Company. It became a national day of observance in 2014, thanks to President Barack Obama. Most states and the District of Columbia observe it, with only Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire and the Dakotas “holding out.”
3. It’s also known by other names. The holiday also goes by Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, or as some call it, “America’s second Independence Day.” The latter seems fitting, since July 4 was supposed to be about how all men and women are “created equal.” Juneteenth seems to actually follow through on that.
4. Celebrations include parades, readings and getting together. The day is marked with parades, communities coming together to celebrate black culture, honor black history and remember those who continued to fight for civil rights after the end of slavery. After all, despite the Emancipation Proclamation, it wasn’t until December 13, 1865 that the Thirteenth Amendment (which officially ended slavery) was passed. Even then, there was segregation, Jim Crow laws, etc. To this day, black people continue to fight for equality and against systemic police brutality.
5. President Donald Trump issued a statement on Juneteenth. “As a Nation,” President Donald Trump, 72, said, “we vow to never forget the millions of African Americans who suffered the evils of slavery. Together, we honor the unbreakable spirit and countless contributions of generations of African Americans to the story of American greatness. Today and every day, we recommit ourselves to defending the self-evident truth, boldly declared by our Founding Fathers, that all people are created equal.” While this all seems well and good, Bustle pointed out that Trump’s statement seemed eerily similar to the one he made in 2017, as if it was just a cut+paste job.