United States: Juneteenth National Independence Day 2021.

By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews):

Sources: National Museum of African American History and Culture, History.com, and Britannica.com (Information):

Picture: Wikimedia Commons: Juneteenth Flag (Courtesy):

United States: On Saturday, June 19th, 2021 is Juneteenth National Independence Day which commemorates the freedom of the slaves in the United States.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.

Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed.

The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday.

Picture: Wikimedia Commons: General Order No. 3, June 19, 1865 (Courtesy):

Confederate General Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox Court House two months earlier in Virginia, but slavery had remained relatively unaffected in Texas—until U.S. General Gordon Granger stood on Texas soil and read General Orders No. 3: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

The Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, had established that all enslaved people in Confederate states in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

But in reality, the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t instantly free any enslaved people. The proclamation only applied to places under Confederate control and not to slave-holding border states or rebel areas already under Union control. However, as Northern troops advanced into the Confederate South, many enslaved people fled behind Union lines.

In Texas, slavery had continued as the state experienced no large-scale fighting or significant presence of Union troops. Many enslavers from outside the Lone Star State had moved there, as they viewed it as a safe haven for slavery.

Picture: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library via Wikimedia Commons: Texas Juneteenth Day Celebration, 1900 (Courtesy):

After the war came to a close in the spring of 1865, General Granger’s arrival in Galveston that June signaled freedom for Texas’s 250,000 enslaved people. Although emancipation didn’t happen overnight for everyone—in some cases, enslavers withheld the information until after harvest season—celebrations broke out among newly freed Black people, and Juneteenth was born. That December, slavery in America was formally abolished with the adoption of the 13th Amendment.

The year following 1865, freedmen in Texas organized the first of what became the annual celebration of “Jubilee Day” on June 19. In the ensuing decades, Juneteenth commemorations featured music, barbecues, prayer services and other activities, and as Black people migrated from Texas to other parts of the country the Juneteenth tradition spread.

In 1979, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday; several others followed suit over the years.

The original Juneteenth Flag was created in 1997 by Ben Haith, the founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation. The flag has a blue and red stripe with a white star in the middle, an outline surrounding the star, and an arc that extends across the width of the flag.

According to the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, the Juneteenth Flag underwent revisions in 2000 and the date “June 19, 1865” was added in 2007.

On Thursday, June 17th, 2021, United States President Joe Biden signed into law the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act making Juneteenth a federal holiday in the United States.

Picture: Wikimedia Commons: Traditional African dance and music performed for Juneteenth, 2019 (Courtesy):

Juneteenth is a time to gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future.

Events, celebrations, prayer services and educational history lessons and readings are planned in major cities across the United States on Saturday to commemorating Juneteenth.

*** Learn more about Juneteenth at the following websites: ***

– National Museum of African American History and Culture:

https://nmaahc.si.edu/blog-post/historical-legacy-juneteenth

https://nmaahc.si.edu/events/juneteenth

– History.com:

https://www.history.com/news/what-is-juneteenth

– Britannica.com:

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Juneteenth

ZachNews wish everybody a joyful, peaceful and safe Juneteenth National Independence Day.

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