Juneteenth comes from…

Juneteenth Celebration - Commemoration of Abolishment of Slavery in Texas

Photo courtesy of The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

Juneteenth comes from the combination of ‘June’ and ‘Nineteenth’ which is the date it is celebrated on.

Perhaps this may seem a relatively foreign date to many of us compared to commercialized holidays such as Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, etc. but it is a relatively important date.

It was first observed in Texas by the African American community as it marks the date of the emancipation of the slaves in areas of Texas where the Emancipation Proclamation was resisted. Now it is accepted as a holiday by 36 states in the United States; however, there have been times when its celebration was less valued like during the Depression.

Personally, I have not seen much emphasis on this holiday as compared to others and the African-Americans that I know have not brought up any celebrations relating to that date though it is a holiday in the state of Illinois. It seems to be a holiday with a limited audience of the African American community and even so it seems to be rarely celebrated. I think if that July 4th, as Independence Day, is celebrated to such a great extent, Juneteenth should also be as it is another mark of independence in our country.

– Vivian


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