Juneteenth, A New Federal Holiday
Juneteenth is a new federal holiday to commemorate the last of the Black slaves in Galveston, Texas being notified of their freedom following the Civil War. The flag of Juneteenth has a red and blue background with a white star, and its outline holds many symbols. The single star represents Texas, the outline of the star symbolizes a new start, and the red, blue, and white colors represent America itself.
Juneteenth’s history focuses on Galveston, Texas. Since Texas was a faraway, remote state at that time, the slaves in Texas did not know that President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation declared that all people held as slaves should be free from that moment forward. However, it was not until June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation and almost two months after the Union’s victory in the Civil War, that the people of Galveston finally got to hear the good news. On that day, the Union troops landed in Galveston and told more than 250,000 enslaved people that the Civil War had ended and that they were to be free. Celebration of Juneteenth started in the following years of June 19, 1865 in Texas. In 1872, some of the former slaves, together, bought a 10-acre parcel of land in Houston and established a park named ‘Emancipation Park’ to celebrate their freedom, where most of the celebration event began. Those celebrations which later became an annual event included singing, praying, and speeches, and people wore new clothes that represented their new world with freedom. Today, Juneteenth is still celebrated by having family reunions or participating in an event, party, or parade in their neighborhood, and most of the grand celebrations take place in Texas.
Juneteenth was originally called ‘Jubilee Day, and every American should celebrate this holiday to remember the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and the freeing of all slaves. Freedom prevailed in America through the bravery, courage, and strength of the generations that have come before us.