Juneteenth, a combination of the words “June” and “nineteenth,” celebrates the end of slavery in the United States.
Although President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 during the Civil War, Confederate states had yet to formally abolish the practice two years later. On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger issued an order in Galveston, Texas, stating all enslaved people were free under the Emancipation Proclamation.
Another Source held a team discussion to recognize Juneteenth. We would like to share some facts from what we learned together:
- Other names for Juneteenth include Freedom Day and Emancipation Day
- There were an estimated 250,000 enslaved persons living in Texas in 1865
- “Lift Every Voice and Sing” – also known as the Black National Anthem – is often included in Juneteenth celebrations
- Before Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021, the last national holiday to be made in the US was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 1983
- What do the symbols on the Juneteenth flag represent?
- The star symbolizes both Texas (the Lone Star State) where General Granger made the announcement and the freedom of African Americans in all 50 states.
- The burst resembles a nova or new star, indicating the new beginning for African Americans.
- Finally, the arc represents a new horizon of opportunities for Black Americans.
For more information, check out the resources below that we explored during our team discussion:
- TED Ed video: “What is Juneteenth and why is it important?”
- Oprah Daily: The True Meaning of the Juneteenth Flag, Explained
- Lisa Wingate, The Book of Lost Friends
- Virtual tour: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
- Film, Miss Juneteenth