In light of recent events, we felt compelled to share this with you.
We all know about Independence Day in the U.S. Let’s spread the word about another incredibly significant day: Juneteenth.
1. What is Juneteenth?
The holiday gets its name from June 19, 1865. That’s the day the Union army arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that all African-American slaves in the state were free in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The state was the last in the Confederacy to receive word that the Civil War was over and that slavery had been abolished and the last where the federal Army established its authority.
Most freed-people weren’t exactly interested in staying with their slavers. What came after, became known as “the scatter”, when crowds of freedpeople left the state to find other family members or friendlier accommodation in northern regions.
FREEDOM CREATED OTHER PROBLEMS
After the announcement, Texas slave owners were not too anxious to let go of what the deemed to be their property. So when freed-people tried to leave, many of them were killed, beaten or lynched.
It took over 2 years for the June 19 announcement to come. Hundreds of thousands of slaves were already free - yet, none of them knew it and no one was in a rush to share this information with them.
2. What’s been its significance?
As early as 1866, freed African Americans in Texas held a celebration on the date to commemorate the end of slavery. As Black families emigrated from the southern U.S. after the Great Depression, observance spread throughout the country. In 1968, shortly after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, his Poor People’s Campaign held a Juneteenth Solidarity Day, giving the holiday a new prominence in the civil rights movement.