Juneteenth: Celebrating the End of Slavery

by | Jun 18, 2012 | Holidays

American and Juneteenth Flags

What are your plans to celebrate Juneteenth this year?

If you haven’t heard of this holiday before, Juneteenth is celebrated on the 19th of June and it is the oldest recorded celebration to commemorate when slavery came to an end in the USA.

It was established in 1865 when the Union Soldiers arrived at Galveston, Texas and Major General Gordon Granger announced that those who were enslaved were now free.

This festival is held every year, especially in the Southern states of America, to celebrate the emancipation of the slaves. 

In early years due to deeply ingrained racism the holiday was banned from being publicly celebrated, however the Civil Rights Movement brought with it a resurgence of Juneteenth celebrations and in 1980 it became an official state holiday.

Juneteenth Traditions

Some of the traditional events which occur on the 19th of June include a public reading of the Emancipation Proclamation as a reminder of this historic event.

Many African American families use this holiday as an occasion to retrace their ancestry, exchange artifacts and learn about their heritage.

Juneteenth events also include poetry readings by writers such as Maya Angelou and live music, as well as parades, rodeos, cookouts, concerts, picnics and more.

A number of cities and towns around the USA honor June the 19th with their own parades, festivals, concerts and public events.

In Galveston, Texas where it all began there is a National Juneteenth Flag Raising Ceremony every year, which is held near the historic Ashton Villa building.

It is also a tradition to host baseball games on the 19th of June in the community.

Also, major American cultural institutions such as the Henry Ford Museum and the Smithsonian have begun to sponsor their own Juneteenth activities and exhibitions.

Juneteenth is For Everyone

Juneteenth is a historical day of reflection and an opportunity to appreciate and honor the African American experience in the days of slavery.

This holiday includes all ethnicities and is a time for everyone to come together.

Check online to find out if there are any Juneteenth celebrations in your community and go ahead and join the party!