Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Juneteenth marks the anniversary of the announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas, after 250 years of persistent slavery in America. Originating in Galveston, the holiday has since been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States, often broadly celebrating African-American culture.
The day was first recognized as a federal holiday in June 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law. The Juneteenth flag is a symbol of the Juneteenth holiday.
How To Celebrate Juneteenth?
Juneteenth celebration often involves public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation. The participants also sing traditional songs such as "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and read poetry works by African American writers such as Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou.
Some Juneteenth celebrations include rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, park parties, historical reenactments, and Miss Juneteenth contests. In 2021, Juneteenth became the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was adopted in 1983.
Can Non-Black Celebrate Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is a celebration for all, not just African Americans, but all Americans who value freedom. This Holiday celebrates Freedom. Whatever your race, color, or creed; look back on the history of this great land and the conclusion is the same…Our story has never been tidy. Every inch of our freedom has come at a great cost. But, in the end, our story has been and remains one of progress.
Even though there is still more progress to be made, we encourage each of you as you enjoy your Juneteenth holiday, to reflect on the blessings of the American nation's freedom and consider what we all can do to help close what remains of that gap.