A Brief History
On June 17, 2021, President Biden signed the law that made “Juneteenth,” the 19th day of June each year, a National Holiday, the first designated as such since Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 1983.
The origin of the “Juneteenth” holiday dates back to June 19, 1865, when Union Army Major General Gordon Granger pronounced that all previously enslaved people in Texas were now emancipated. The proclamation by General Granger was among the last events in the process of the freeing of slaves in the United States, and African Americans have celebrated this date since 1866.
Enthusiasm for celebrating Juneteenth grew in the African American community during the early and mid-20th Century, at least in the South, but the special date caught on in the North with the migration of African Americans to the Northern States.
Recognition of the importance of June 19th to all Americans occurred gradually, and eventually to the point where Congress enacted legislation marking the day as a National Holiday in 2021.
Question for students (and subscribers): What other National Holidays would you propose? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Charles Rivers Editors. Juneteenth: The History and Legacy of the Holiday that Commemorates the End of Slavery in the South. Independently published, 2021.
Jewel, Kirsti. What Is Juneteenth? Penguin Workshop, 2022.
The featured image in this article, an official White House photograph by Chandler West of President Joe Biden, joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, lawmakers and guests, signing the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act Bill on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in the East Room of the White House, is a work of an employee of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, it is in the public domain.
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