Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans and celebrating African-American culture. Originating in Galveston, Texas, it has been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States since 1865.
On June 18 2021, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. signed legislation designating Juneteenth a national holiday- the first to be approved since Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which was established in 1983. June 19 is officially Juneteenth National Independence Day, a U.S. federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The name is a blending of the words June and nineteenth.
On June 19, 1865, Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas with federal troops, proclaiming that slaves were free. That day came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Even after Lincoln declared all enslaved people free on paper, that hadn't necessarily been the case in practice.
Juneteenth is also known as Emancipation Day. People across the country celebrate with food and festivities, much like the Fourth of July.
Ways to Commemorate
The National Museum of African American History & Culture is hosting an online celebration called, Juneteenth: A Celebration of Resistance. For added education and awareness, the museum also put together an interactive timeline that walks online users through the history of Juneteenth and its significance today.
OutdoorAfro inspires connections of Black and African American individuals to nature. In honor of Juneteenth, the company is encouraging people to spend 2.5 hours in nature considering the question, "What does freedom mean to me in America?" Participants are also asked to reflect on the legacy of the 250,000 Black Americans in Galveston, Texas, who were denied their freedom for more than two years. By registering here people can submit their personal reflections, which may be publicly shared in honor of the holiday.
The Juneteenth Foundation will host its annual festival weekend. The celebration kicks off with virtual panel reflections and commitments made by corporations to Black advancement in the business sector. Conversations will also explore criminal justice reform, access to equity, and education. The weekend will also feature a virtual career panel and fair, which will include breakout sessions. A major highlight of the weekend is the organization's Juneteenth Freedom Concert which will stream online.Celebrate culture by supporting theater: StepAfrika
Invest in education equity and justice:
100 Black Men of America strives to create meaningful societal change by focusing on the next generation. As an African American-led mentorship organization, the non-profit leverages the power of mentorship to develop youth and young adults as leaders who are capable of creating change in the world around them. The organization's four cornerstone principles include mentoring, education, health/wellness, and economic empowerment.
National Urban League is committed to the advancement of African Americans through economic empowerment, equality and social justice. Since 1910 the organization has promoted the advancement of Black Americans through an array of community and national initiatives. Among the causes championed by the organization: education, job training, workforce development, and civic engagement. Included among the organization's signature education initiatives is a mentorship program for African American children and teens. For more on this non-profit's education initiative click here.
Juneteenth Trivia or Lunch & Learn workplace events