Explanation: The story of Juneteenth, a new federal holiday | Way of life

The US government is catching up with blacks who have been celebrating the end of slavery in the United States for generations on a day called “June.”

President Joe Biden on Thursday signed a bill passed by Congress, setting June 16 or 19 as a federal holiday. “I hope this is the start of a change in the way we deal with each other,” he said.

The Senate unanimously approved the bill. Only 14 House Republicans, many of the major states that were part of Confederate slavery in the 19th century, opposed the bill.

What is this federal holiday and what is its history? The appearance is as follows.


The celebration began with the freed slaves in Galveston, Texas. The Emancipation Proclamation freed southern slaves in 1863, but could not be implemented in many places until the end of the Civil War of 1865.

Released from a farm near Bellville, Texas, Laura Smolley recalled in an interview in 1941 that her ex-master went to fight in the Civil War and returned home without telling her slaves what had happened. It was.

“The old masters didn’t say they were free, as you know,” Smalley said at the time. “Now I think they say they worked six months later. Six months. And loosen them on June 19. This is why we celebrate this day.

Major-General Gordon Granger and his army arrived in Galveston on June 19, 1865, with news that the war was over and the slaves had been freed. It has been over two months since General Robert E. Lee of the Confederates surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant of Virginia.

Granger submitted General Ordinance # 3 declaring, “The people of Texas are advised that all slaves are free, according to a statement by the US administration. It is the absolute equality of personal and property rights between the former master and the slave. The links that previously existed between them will be the links between employers and employees. “

The following year, now free people began celebrating June 15 in Galveston. Since then, this compliance has continued nationally and around the world. Events include concerts, parades and readings from the Emancipation Proclamation.

This updated document, provided by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Tuesday, June 8, shows a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. A rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Lincoln and then Secretary of State William Seward appears when the Illinois General Assembly signs the Juneteenth holiday. Illinois became the latest state to make Juneteenth an official holiday, as Governor JB Pritzker signed a bill on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 near a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. ..

What does “June” mean?

The term Juneteenth is a combination of the words June and 19. This holiday is also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day.

Often initially celebrated with picnics and speeches at church, the holidays have spread nationally and internationally as black Texas moves elsewhere.

Most states recognize June 16 as a public holiday or a recognition day, as the anniversary of the national flag, and most states have statutory holidays. Juneteenth is paid time off for employees in the state of Texas, New York, Virginia and Washington, and hundreds of companies are giving their employees Juneteenth vacations.

Why now?

National racing calculations have helped Juneteenth set the stage for becoming the first new federal holiday since 1983, when Martin Luther King Jr. Day was founded.

This bill is D-Mass. It was sponsored by Senator Edward Markey of the United States and had 60 co-sponsors. Biparty support has emerged as lawmakers struggled to overcome the division that was still brewing after police killed George Floyd in Minnesota last year.

Advocates of the holidays have sought to remember why the June holidays exist.

“The country was liberated from the UK in 1776, but not everyone was free,” said Dee Evans, director of public relations at the National Juneteenth Compliance Foundation, in 2019. The whole country was in made free. “

There is also the feeling of using the day to remember the sacrifices made for freedom in the United States. Especially in these times of racial and political criticism. Paralanel Agboga, site coordinator for the George Washington Carver Museum Cultural Charter Center in Austin, Texas, said:

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