Juneteenth has been officially recognized as a federal holiday, but how much do you really know about this important day in history? Read along to educate yourself on some facts that you probably didn’t know about the day of liberation.
Juneteenth (June 19) is celebrated in the United States mostly by African-Americans. It has been an official state holiday in Texas since 1980.
There are a number of different ways that people celebrate the day: parades, marches and barbecues. Many people get together for ceremonies that include public service awards, prayer, and the raising of the Juneteenth Flag. Government and educational facilities will often have programs or information regarding the history of the holiday and the Emancipation Proclamation.
Some cities and groups have Miss Junteenth contests, like (L-R) Miss Juneteenth Nevada Aniyah Brown, Tiffanne LeMay, Miss Jubilee Jaslyn Johnson, Little Miss Juneteenth Journee Walton, National Juneteenth Observance Foundation communications director Deborah Evans and Miss Juneteenth Las Vegas Leslie Walton. The ladies pose in front of the historical Harrison House, where black entertainers stayed during days of segregation, during a Juneteenth Reunion Family Caravan and BBQ put on by the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation on June 19, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Juneteenth has been celebrated under many names: Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Cel-Liberation Day, Second Independence Day, and Emancipation Day to name just a few.
Strawberry soda pop was once a popular drink associated with celebrating Juneteenth.
During the early 20th-century Juneteenth celebrations declined. The enactment of Jim Crow laws dampened the celebration of freedom. In addition, the Great Depression forced many black farming families away from rural areas and into urban environments to seek work— resulting in difficulty taking the day off to celebrate.
South Dakota is the only state that never legally recognized Juneteenth. After repeated efforts, the South Dakota Senate passed a bill to make Juneteenth a working holiday, but in March 2021 it was blocked in the House by a vote of 31-36.
There is a Juneteenth Flag of Freedom. It is half red and half blue with a star in the middle, showing that the formerly enslaved were and are Americans and represents Texas as the Lone Star state. In 2007, the significant date "June 19, 1865" was added to the flag. But despite these being the formal colors of the holiday, you'll also see people honoring Black Independence Day with red, black, and green. These are the colors of the Pan-African flag, which was created in 1920 and encouraged by leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and Jamaican activist Marcus Garvey. This flag honors people of African Diaspora and also symbolizes Black liberation and freedom. Each year a Juneteenth Flag raising ceremony is held in Galveston.