The Declaration of Salvation was issued in 1863 – but a quarter of a million people in Texas remained in captivity for many more years.
MINNEAPOLIS – June is the youngest federal holiday in the country, but its roots go back more than 150 years.
The United States marked June 10, the first day of federal recognition in 2021, after President Joe Biden signed into law the bill that created June 17 National Independence Day.
Recognition of the holiday has sparked interest in the wake of nationwide protests in 2020 over the killing of black Americans by police, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
RELATIONSHIPS: Black Americans living abroad think about Juneteenth
In signing the bill, which established June as a federal holiday, Biden called Juneteenth a “day of deep weight and deep power, a day to remember the moral stain, the terrible scourge that slavery has inflicted and continues to inflict on the country.”
It was the country’s 12th federal holiday – the first to be added since Martin Luther King Jr.’s Little Day was established in 1983.
Although its federal recognition is new, Juneteenth is celebrated by generations of Black Americans.
Date of June
Juneteenth emerged after the end of the Civil War in Galveston, Texas.
In 1863, through the Emancipation Proclamation, people enslaved in the Confederate states were legally released.
“Many black soldiers marched on plantations and southern cities, reading small copies of the Declaration of Emancipation, which spread the news of freedom in the Confederate States,” the National Museum of African American History and Culture described.
However, the announcement could not be made in areas still under Confederate control. Freedom for Texas captives would not come until the end of the Civil War.
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger and his troops arrived in Galveston Bay and announced the release of a quarter of a million blacks held captive in Texas by executive order.
It was more than two months since Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia.
Laura Smolly, who was released from a plantation near Bellville, Texas, recalled in an interview in 1941 that the man she called the “old master” had gone to fight in the Civil War and returned home without telling anyone what had happened.
“The old master didn’t say, you know, they were free,” Smalley said. “I think now, six months later, they say they’re working. Six months. You released them on June 19th. Therefore, you know, we celebrate that day. “
A year later, people released in Galveston began celebrating the combination of the words “June 1” and “June” and “Nineteenth.” As Black Texans moved, my memory spread throughout the United States.
How are the ten days of June celebrated?
Across the country, June celebrations include larger gatherings, including picnics, bloc parties and parades.
The vast majority of states recognize June as Flag Day as a holiday or recognition day. This year, about 20 states are expected to close government offices and give most public workers leave on June 10. Fewer people turned it into a paid holiday. While some states continue to remember the Confederacy, many states have been slow to do more than make declarations or resolutions.
The Associated Press contributed to the report.
What is June 2022? History of the new federal holiday
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