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Updated Jun 20, 2019 at 12:06PM EDT by Matt.

Added Jun 20, 2019 at 11:40AM EDT by Matt.

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Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day and Juneteenth Independence Day, is an American holiday that commemorates the abolition of African slaves in Texas, where the crime of slavery remained intact two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed. A day of high reverence within the African American community, Juneteenth, a portmanteau of "June" and "nineteenth," is celebrated throughout the United States. Many have argued for it becoming a federal holiday.


On September 22nd, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which would go into effect on January 1st, 1863, making the act of slavery a crime in the United States. However, in more remote areas of the U.S., slavery remained intact, particularly in Texas.[1]

On June 19th, 1865, Union forces descended on Galveston, Texas, bringing news of the Confederacy's loss in the Civil War and that slavery was now illegal. At that time, Union General Gordon Granger[2] made the following proclamation:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

According to Juneteenth.com, "The celebration of June 19th was coined "Juneteenth" and grew with more participation from descendants. The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date."


State Recognition

Throughout the 20th century, various state and local governments decline to recognize the holiday. However, in 1980, Democratic Texas Governor Al Edwards introduced legislation to make Juneteenth a state holiday. When the order passed, Texas became the first state to recognize the day, making it a "parial-staffing" holiday. As of 2019, 46 states have made Juneteenth a state holiday or special day of observance.

Juneteenth has been a topic of conversation in various pieces of culture, appearing in episodes of the television series Atlanta and Black-ish. It was also the name Ralph Ellison's second novel.

Juneteenth 2019

Juneteenth 2019 saw a wave of comments from online outlets and late-night shows. The online news outlet NowThis tweeted, "‘We were freed on this day … this is American history.’ -- This is why every American should learn about and understand #Juneteenth" (shown below).

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee tweeted a segment as well, adding "Yesterday was Juneteenth, and with reparations playing a larger role in many 2020 platforms, Sam went back to school to talk with some of America's bright young minds to figure out how to take reparations from hypothetical to reality" (shown below).

Virtually every Democratic presidential candidate tweeted about the holiday. Elizabeth Warren tweeted, "On #Juneteenth, I’m thinking about how our country needs big, structural change to confront the oppression that Black Americans still face today. Black lives matter, Black citizens matter, Black families matter" (shown below, left).

Senator Cory Booker tweeted a photograph of black protestors holding signs that read, "I am a man" (shown below, right).

Elizabeth Warren @ewarren On #Juneteenth, l'm thinking about how our country needs big, structural change confront the oppression that Black Americans still face today. Black lives matter, Black citizens matter, Black families matter. WARREN www.ELIZABETHWARREN.COM TEXT FIGHT TO 24477 On Juneteenth and every day: Black lives matter, Black citizens matter, Black... By Elizabeth Warren medium.com Cory Booker @CoryBooker TAM AM AMANMIAM AIAMIMIAM AN A MAN AM A MANAN A MAN MA AMM AM A MAN ANAMAN A MANAMFELAM A MAN AMA 1:17 PM - 19 Jun 2019

Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted a video about the holiday and the caption "Juneteenth should be a national holiday." The post received more than 9,000 likes and 2,000 retweets in 24 hours (shown below).

Search Interest

External References

[1] Juneteenth.com – History of Juneteenth

[2] Wikipedia – Juneteenth

[3] Twitter – @ewarren's Tweet

[4] Twitter – @CoryBooker's Tweet

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