The United States celebrates the national holiday of Juneteenth for the third time

The United States celebrates the national holiday of Juneteenth for the third time
The United States celebrates the national holiday of Juneteenth for the third time

In the United States, Juneteenth is celebrated for the third time this Wednesday, a federal holiday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved black people in 1865. at the end of the Civil War.

The name of the holiday comes from June 19, 1865, when US Army Lieutenant General Gordon Granger marched to Galveston, Texas, and informed an estimated 250,000 slaves that they were free after four years of war. between the victorious Union Army of the northern United States and the Confederate states of the south.

Granger’s order enforced the Emancipation Proclamation signed on January 1, 1863 by then president abraham lincolnwhich freed more than 3 million enslaved blacks throughout the Confederacy, but did not take effect until the end of the Civil War.

Black communities commemorated the date as the actual end of slavery in private celebrations throughout the following century. The first official Juneteenth holiday occurred in 1980, when Texas declared it a state holiday. Other communities in the US slowly began to adopt the annual observance as a holiday, eventually leading to all 50 states and the District of Columbia now recognizing the day in some form.

The campaign to make Juneteenth a federal holiday gained momentum during the Black Lives Matter movement against racism and police brutality, especially after the murder of African American George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer in 2020.

Much of the success in galvanizing support for a national holiday is attributed to Opal Lee, a retired African-American teacher and activist known as “the grandmother of Juneteenth.” As a child, Lee witnessed a group of 500 white supremacists vandalize and burn her family’s home to the ground.

In 2016, at the age of 89, he began a foot campaign, traveling hundreds of miles from his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, to Washington, to push for a Juneteenth federal holiday.

Their efforts came true in 2021, when President Joe Biden signed legislation approved by Congress that marked Juneteenth as the eleventh nationally recognized holiday.

In a proclamation recognizing Juneteenth as “a day of observance,” President Biden said Juneteenth “marks not only the end of the original sin of slavery in America, but also the beginning of the work on the heart and soul of our nation.” nation: making America’s promise a reality for all Americans.

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