What is Juneteenth and how is it being celebrated in the U.S.?

Written by Mariya Moseley, WHUR Intern

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day, is a holiday in the United States that commemorates the “delayed” abolition of slavery in April of 1865.

On June 19th, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on Texas due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

The emancipation of African-American citizens is celebrated on June 19th of each year and recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in most states.  People across the U.S. are celebrating in various ways.

In Texas, celebrations include a four-day event, with festivities beginning on June 14th including a Gospel by the Sea Event, A Scholarship Gala, African-American Heritage Exhibit, The Juneteenth Picnic, and more! You can check it out at http://www.galveston.com/juneteenth/.

One of the largest Juneteenth celebrations in the US this year was hosted in Denver, Colorado, this past weekend June 13- 14th. The festival included The Miss Juneteenth Pageant, Urban Car Show, Legacy Awards Presentation, Art Walk, and Musical Concert. To receive more details on how to attend next years festival or to help support, visit http://juneteenthmusicfestival.com/.

Here in the nation’s capital, the celebrations began June 15th at The Emancipation Memorial at Lincoln Park . Today, the events involve a National Prayer Breakfast, and more! Check out what other events are being held in the area at http://www.nationaljuneteenth.com/Juneteenth_National.html.

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