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Honoring Juneteenth: A Journey Through History

Juneteenth is a holiday commemorating the end of organized slavery in America following the Civil War. Celebrated annually on June 19th, it was officially recognized as a federal holiday in 2021 through legislation signed by President Biden. For many African Americans, Juneteenth is an important milestone in honoring their cultural heritage and a means of uniting Black communities across the nation.

Juneteenth: A Brief History 

Let's take a brief look at how Juneteenth came to be.

On June 19, 1865, approximately two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox, Virginia, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas. He announced to enslaved African Americans that they were officially free and that the Civil War had ended with a Union victory. General Granger's declaration implemented the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln nearly two and a half years earlier on January 1, 1863.

The holiday is also known as “Juneteenth Independence Day,” “Freedom Day,” or “Emancipation Day.”

Read more on the origins here:

How Juneteenth is Celebrated

Early celebrations included prayer and family gatherings, later expanding to annual pilgrimages to Galveston by formerly enslaved people and their families, according to

In 1872, a group of African American ministers and businessmen in Houston purchased 10 acres of land and established Emancipation Park specifically for the city's annual Juneteenth celebrations.

Today, celebrations still occur among families in backyards, where cookouts and barbecues play a central role in bringing people together. In cities like Atlanta and Washington, larger events are hosted, including parades and festivals that involve residents, local businesses, and more.

What are your thoughts on Juneteenth? Did you learn anything new about this holiday? Share your opinions with us in the comments below.

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