There are precious few holidays in this country that celebrate and acknowledge the Black experience in America. Juneteenth is one of them.
Juneteenth represents the day that African Americans celebrate as the “official” end of slavery. In yet another misleading chapter in our American History books, the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln in 1863 did not free all the slaves. Instead it was not until two years later when word reached Galveston Texas on June 19th 1865 that slavery was over. This June 19th (Juneteenth for short) has become the day that African Americans celebrate a rebirth in this country.
Much like Independence Day, Cinco De Mayo and Chinese New Year, Juneteenth is a day to reflect on culture and tradition while honoring those who struggled before us so that we can have a better life today. The day is marked with food, parades, family and a look backward in respect for our ancestors who struggled so that we could be here today.
Juneteenth - Little Known Facts
As you know here at AfroDaddy.com we are always trying to share a little knowledge, so without further ado here are some little known facts about Juneteenth that you may not know.
Juneteenth has its own flag. The Juneteenth flag consists of a rectangle, with the upper part blue and lower part red. The center contains a solid white, five-pointed star outlined in white by a 12-pointed star. The Juneteenth flag is often displayed with the American flag to symbolize that slavery is illegal.
Juneteenth was first celebrated as a Texas holiday in 1867.
Early Juneteenth celebrators bought property to fund Juneteenth. To celebrate the holiday many African American freedmen pooled their money together to buy property to be used for Juneteenth celebrations. In Houston, in 1872, Rev. Jack Yates organized a group that raised $1000 to purchase a ten-acre site (Emancipation Park) in the city’s Third Ward. There is also a 20-acre site near Lake Mexica in Limestone County.
Juneteenth Celebration 1900 Eastwoods Park, Austin TX
Juneteenth became an official state holiday in Texas on January 1, 1980, when Al Edwards, an African-American state legislator led the passage of this first celebration to gain official state recognition.
The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 did not free the slaves in many states. In fact it had virtually no impact in Texas due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce President Lincoln's new Executive Order. It was not until April 1865 and the surrender of General Lee that Union General Granger brought in regiment forces strong enough to overcome slave owner resistance. Granger’s delivery of General Order No. 3 signified true emancipation and this notification later spawned the Juneteenth holiday.
Juneteenth is currently recognized as a state holiday or state holiday observance in 41 states of the United States
Barbecue and strawberry soda are historically traditional food and drink at Juneteenth celebrations
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