A large street festival in Milwuakee, Wisconsin. Much of the crowd is African-American, and cooking smoke can be seen rising from food trucks and stands parallel to the street.
Juneteenth festival in Milwaukee, 2019
Also called
  • Juneteenth National Independence Day
  • Jubilee Day[1]
  • Emancipation Day (TX)[2][3]
  • Freedom Day
  • Black Independence Day[4]
Observed byPrimarily African Americans in the United States
Liturgical colorRed, Black, Green (Pan-African colors)
SignificanceEmancipation of slaves in The South
CelebrationsFestivals, partying, parades, church services
ObservancesAfrican-American history, culture, and progress
DateJune 19[a]
First time
  • June 19, 1866 (celebration)
  • June 19, 2021 (federal holiday)[b]
Started byNo central organizing group, some early celebrations held by the Freedmen’s Bureau
Related toEmancipation Day

Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Juneteenth marks the anniversary of General Order No. 3 by Major General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, proclaiming freedom for slaves in Texas.[7] Originating in Galveston, the holiday has since been observed annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States, often broadly celebrating African-American culture. The day was first recognized as a federal holiday on June 17, 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law after the efforts of Lula Briggs Galloway, Opal Lee, and others.

Early celebrations date to 1866, at first involving church-centered community gatherings in Texas. They spread across the South and became more commercialized in the 1920s and 1930s, often centering on a food festival. Participants in the Great Migration brought these celebrations to the rest of the country. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, these celebrations were eclipsed by the nonviolent determination to achieve civil rights, but grew in popularity again in the 1970s with a focus on African American freedom and African-American arts. Beginning with Texas by proclamation in 1938, and by legislation in 1979, every U.S. state and the District of Columbia has formally recognized the holiday in some way. With its adoption in parts of Mexico, the holiday has become an international holiday. Juneteenth is celebrated by the Mascogos, descendants of Black Seminoles who escaped from slavery in 1852 and settled in Coahuila, Mexico.[8][9]

Celebratory traditions often include public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, singing traditional songs such as "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Lift Every Voice and Sing", and the reading of works by noted African-American writers, such as Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou. Juneteenth celebrations may also include rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, parties, historical reenactments, and Miss Juneteenth contests. In 2021, Juneteenth became the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was adopted in 1983.[10]

  1. ^ "Cel-Liberation Style! Fourth Annual Juneteenth Day Kicks off June 19". Milwaukee Star. June 12, 1975. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  2. ^ Silva, Daniella (June 16, 2020). "What to know about Juneteenth, the emancipation holiday". NBC News. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  3. ^ Davis, Kenneth C. (June 15, 2011). "Juneteenth: Our Other Independence Day". Smithsonian. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference crs was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ "Juneteenth Celebrated in Coachella". Black Voice News. June 22, 2011. Archived from the original on January 22, 2012.
  6. ^ Gulevich, Tanya (2003). Encyclopedia of Christmas and New Year's Celebrations. Omnigraphics. pp. 188–211. ISBN 9780780806252. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
  7. ^ Gates, Henry Louis Jr. (January 16, 2013). "What Is Juneteenth?". PBS. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  8. ^ Ferguson, Wes (June 19, 2019). "Why This Mexican Village Celebrates Juneteenth". Texas Monthly. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  9. ^ "Black Kos, Remember the Mascogos, Afro-Indigenous-Mexican-Americans for Cinco De Mayo". Daily Kos. May 3, 2019. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  10. ^ President Biden Signs the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act Into Law (video). June 17, 2021. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021.

Cite error: There are <ref group=lower-alpha> tags or {{efn}} templates on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist|group=lower-alpha}} template or {{notelist}} template (see the help page).

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