Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
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. It signifies the date that the last slaves were freed after the Emancipation Proclamation was established January 1, 1863.
Today Juneteenth commemorates the freedom of Americans with African descent 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.
It is particularly important for people of African descent to learn, embrace, and celebrate Juneteenth. Many of us celebrate the 4th of July, yet do not know much about Juneteenth. The American independence day was July 4, 1776, 89 years before black people were freed from slavery. During the American Revolution, black people were on the front lines fighting to help America gain their independence. Unfortunately, after helping America gain independence, most resumed their lives being slaves. Juneteenth is a part of our history, even if it is not often promoted through the media. Africans were enslaved for over 400 years; our ancestors fought and died attempting to gain their freedom. Remember them by celebrating Juneteenth!