Juneteenth

holiday commemorating the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865

Juneteenth (a portmanteau of June and nineteenth) – also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day – is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. Originating in Galveston, Texas, it is now celebrated annually on the 19th of June throughout the United States, with varying official recognition. It is commemorated on the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865 announcement by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas.

QuotesEdit

  • Juneteenth marks both the long, hard night of slavery and subjugation, and a promise of a brighter morning to come. This is a day of profound — in my view — profound weight and profound power. A day in which we remember the moral stain, the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take — what I’ve long called “America’s original sin.” At the same time, I also remember the extraordinary capacity to heal, and to hope, and to emerge from the most painful moments and a bitter, bitter version of ourselves, but to make a better version of ourselves. You know, today, we consecrate Juneteenth for what it ought to be, what it must be: a national holiday.
  • On June 19, 1865 — nearly nine decades after our Nation’s founding, and more than 2 years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation — enslaved Americans in Galveston, Texas, finally received word that they were free from bondage. As those who were formerly enslaved were recognized for the first time as citizens, Black Americans came to commemorate Juneteenth with celebrations across the country, building new lives and a new tradition that we honor today. In its celebration of freedom, Juneteenth is a day that should be recognized by all Americans. And that is why I am proud to have consecrated Juneteenth as our newest national holiday...
    I call upon the people of the United States to acknowledge and celebrate the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of Black Americans, and commit together to eradicate systemic racism that still undermines our founding ideals and collective prosperity.
  • I went to Galveston, Texas, in part, because I wanted to spend time with people who were the actual descendants of those who had been freed by General Gordon Granger’s General Order No. 3. And it was a really remarkable moment, because I was in this place, on this island, on this land, with people for whom Juneteenth was not an abstraction. It was not a performance. It was not merely a symbol. It was part of their tradition. It was part of their lineage. It was an heirloom that had been passed down, that had made their lives possible. And so, I think I gained a more intimate sense of what that holiday meant.
  • Over the course of decades, she has made it her mission to see that this day came. It was almost a singular mission. She has walked for miles and miles, literally and figuratively, to bring attention to Juneteenth, to make this day possible...when I think about someone like Miss Opal Lee, part of what I think about is our proximity to this period of history, right? Slavery existed for 250 years in this country, and it’s only not existed for 150. And, you know, the way that I was taught about slavery, growing up, in elementary school, we were made to feel as if it was something that happened in the Jurassic age, that it was the flint stone, the dinosaurs and slavery, almost as if they all happened at the same time. But the woman who opened the National Museum of African American History and Culture alongside the Obama family in 2016 was the daughter of an enslaved person — not the granddaughter or the great-granddaughter or the great-great-granddaughter. The daughter of an enslaved person is who opened this museum of the Smithsonian in 2016. And so, clearly, for so many people, there are people who are alive today who were raised by, who knew, who were in community with, who loved people who were born into intergenerational chattel bondage. And so, this history that we tell ourselves was a long time ago wasn’t, in fact, that long ago at all.

External linksEdit

  •   Encyclopedic article on Juneteenth on Wikipedia
  •   The dictionary definition of Juneteenth on Wiktionary
  •   Media related to Juneteenth on Wikimedia Commons
  •   Works related to Juneteenth on Wikisource