Juneteenth, typically a holiday observed on June 19 every year, is used to mark the termination of slavery in the United States and has been widely celebrated by the African-American community ever since.
History of Juneteeth
Union General Gordon Granger, who arrived in Texas’ Galveston on June 19, 1865, informed the enslaved African Americans that the Civil War had ended and that they were now free. This event marked the solidification of the Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863.
The day has also been commonly known as ‘Freedom Day’, ‘Emancipation Day’ or the ‘Juneteenth Independence Day’.
The day was celebrated by praying and bringing families together. In some celebrations on this day, men and women who had been enslaved, and their descendants, made an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston.
How do people celebrate Juneteenth?
The way of celebrating the day has ranged over time and area. While some who are descendants of those who were enslaved celebrate it with a pilgrimage to Galveston, some celebrate the day with their families in their backyard with barbecues, similar to a classic fourth of July celebration in the United States.
Some states, like Washington and Atlanta, also organise large-scale events to mark the day of liberation. These include parades and festivals.