Today Is Juneteenth — Here’s What It Is and Why We Celebrate
Categories: Diversity

Today Is Juneteenth — Here’s What It Is and Why We Celebrate

Today President Trump issued an official statement: “Melania and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Juneteenth, a historic day recognizing the end of slavery.” If you’re confused about what this means, we’ve got you covered.

Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, which would liberate slaves from the Confederate South. But it wasn’t until June 19th, 1865 that the last of the slaves being held in seceded Texas were finally granted their freedom.

Union Major General Gordon Granger made the historic June 19th announcement in Galveston, Texas, as he arrived with nearly 2,000 troops to gain control of the state for the US government. “Juneteenth” — a word made from the combination of “June” and “nineteenth”— has been celebrated ever since. Today people are taking to Twitter to mark the date, with some calling for June 19 to become an official national holiday.

The state of Texas officially recognized June 19 as a public holiday in 1980. Now, with organizations like Black Lives Matter bringing civil rights back into the fore by pressuring media to broadcast the continued injustices faced by black Americans (like Philando Castile and Sandra Bland), Juneteenth is seeing another huge resurgence. Some of that is renewed interest can be found on Twitter:

With cities across the country recognizing Juneteenth with parades and public celebrations, today is a great occasion to work toward ensuring freedom and equality for all across the country.

What do you do to celebrate Juneteenth? Tell us @BritandCo!

(Photos via David Paul Morris/Getty)