President Joe Biden has signed a bill that now establishes Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
Despite what has been proposed, the holiday, that falls on June 19th traditionally commemorates when enslaved Africans in Texas found out that American slavery had ended — four years earlier when then-President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862 “slaves” in Confederate states, who had broken apart from the Union during the Civil War.
According to Deadline, “on June 19, 1865, U.S. Major General Gordon Granger and 2,000 troops landed in Galveston, Texas and marched through the streets reading Granger’s just-issued General Order No.3, which served as an announcement of the end of slavery in accordance with Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. At the time, there were just over 1,000 enslaved people in the city.”
The Emancipation Proclamation is complicated. While it ended slavery in Southern states, it did not end slavery in two Union-connected states Delaware and Kentucky – until December 6, 1865.
While it didn’t happen in 1862/63, it still is the earliest known celebration to honor the end of slavery.
Juneteenth is often called “Emancipation Day,” “Freedom Day,” “Jubilee Day” or “Liberation Day” and is now one of five date-specific federally recognized holidays (New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day (November 11), and Christmas Day).
What it is not is another day to get discounts on furniture, clothes or a call for Uncle Ted’s barbecue.
“Our federal holidays are purposely few in number and recognize the most important milestones,” said Democrat Carolyn Maloney from
New York. “I cannot think of a more important milestone to commemorate than the end of slavery in the United. States.”
The timeline is as such:
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act on June 15, 2021, making Juneteenth a federal holiday. The next day, the House of Representatives voted 415-14, and on June 17, President 46 signed it.
Biden stated, “I have to say to you, I’ve only been President for several months, but I think this will go down, for me, as one of the greatest honors I will have as President.”
“I regret that my grandchildren aren’t here, because this is a really, really, really important moment in our history. By making Juneteenth a federal holiday, all Americans can feel the power of this day and learn from our history — and celebrate progress and grapple with the distance we’ve come (and) the distance we have to travel,” he went on to say.
“We can’t rest until the promise of equality is fulfilled for every one of us in every corner of this nation. That to me is the meaning of Juneteenth,” Biden continued. “So, let’s make this very Juneteenth tomorrow the first that our nation will celebrate all together, as one nation. A Juneteenth of action on many fronts.”
Thank an ancestor on the 19th, even though the 18th is when people will get off of work. Also, save your money. Don’t let them bastardize Black people’s pain.