What Is Juneteenth Day & Why Do We Celebrate The Annual Holiday? Here’s What You Need To Know
18 June 2021, 17:05
What is Juneteenth, why do we celebrate it and how long has it been a holiday?
You may have seen people talking about Juneteenth on social media, but what is it?
The American holiday is also known by many other names, such as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day and Liberation Day.
But why do we celebrate Juneteenth and how long has it been a holiday?
Here’s what you need to know.
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What is Juneteenth day and why do we celebrate it?
Juneteenth, which is a mix of June and nineteenth, is an official American holiday, which people across the US celebrate on June 19, each year.
The holiday celebrates the same year in 1865 when slavery was abolished in the US, but a common misconception is that June 19 was the end of slavery.
However, it wasn’t eradicated until December 6, 1865.
Juneteenth marks the last day that enslaved African-Americans were told that they were free and since, people usually come together on this day to commemorate the liberation of people in the black community.
Two and a half years following Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on June 19, 1865 Galveston, Texas was the last to receive the news that all enslaved people were free. Juneteenth today celebrates freedom, achievement, education, and self-advancement in the Black community.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) June 19, 2020
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Last year, international anti-racism protests, which were sparked following the tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, amongst many other innocent black lives, resulted in many companies giving employees the day off to march together in solidarity, following suit to the Black Lives Matter movement.
How long has Juneteenth been a holiday?
Juneteenth has been celebrated since 1865, making this year the 156th year.
As of June 17, 2021, Juneteenth became an official American holiday, with President Joe Biden signing legislation into law to establish June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day.
Speaking at the White House signing ceremony, Biden said: "I have to say to you, I've only been president for several months, but I think this will go down, for me, as one of the greatest honours I will have as president."
As of now, only a handful of US states currently observe Juneteenth as a paid holiday.