Juneteenth Celebrates The End Of Slavery In The United States

June 19, 2020
Juneteenth flag

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Today is Juneteenth (6.19.20), a day celebrated on the 19th of June every year since 1865.  But why are many Americans just now learnign about the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States?

The date is marked as the day when a group of enslaved people were freed in Galveston, Texas. Although Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, which ended the practice of humans owning other humans, it took an additional 30 months and the ending of teh Civic War to make the proclamation real.  Of course, the news was celebrated by now free African-Americans, which continues today. Slavery in the United States did not officially end until the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States on December 6, 1865, which abolished slavery entirely in all of the U.S. states and territories.

Forty-nine of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia currently recognize Juneteenth as either a state holiday or ceremonial holiday, a day of observance. The only state that does not recognize Juneteenth is Hawaii. 

In many places Juneteenth has become a multicultural holiday. Traditions include public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, singing traditional songs such as "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Lift Every Voice and Sing", and reading of works by noted African-American writers such as Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou.[56] Celebrations include picnics, rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, park parties and historical reenactments.

SOURCE: Juneteenth.com

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