Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery.
From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.
Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long over due. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society.
This information was copied from the Juneteenth.com website. Here's a link to celebrations cross the country from that site.
Hmmm... with all due respect, David, that seemed like the press release version! The real story of Juneteenth is this ....
On June 19, 1865, two-and-a-half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect (Jan. 1, 1963), a ship sailed into the harbor at Galveston, TX, and a proclamation was read letting the slaves in Texas know that they had been freed! There was partying and rejoicing, as Texas slaves were indeed the last to know.
Since then, black people in Texas have continued to celebrate this day as an "independence day" of sorts, and due to the fact that many Texans have left and spread out all over the country, it still continues to be a day of celebration in many other states, where ex-Texans have carried on the tradition!
I still haven't quite figured out why other people would celebrate it or how it has become such a big event outside of Texas. I think it may be because it's a truely Black thing, something like Kwaanza, that doesn't have any roots in European culture and something Black folks can truly call their own! Then again, I could be wrong!
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