What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. It is an important milestone in American history but to date, it remains an under-recognized day.
On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation declaring the end of slavery in the United States. However, enforcement was slow and it took an additional two and a half years for General Gordan Granger to arrive in Galveston, Texas to announce General Orders No. 3 (end of slavery).
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”
In other words, enslaved people in Galveston, Texas did not know they had been freed until June 19, 1865. This date marks the true end of slavery in the United States.
In 2021, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. The House voted overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution. President Biden signed the resolution on June 17, 2021, making Juneteenth a federal holiday created since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law in 1983.
47 states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as either a state holiday or a day of observance (June 20th) but only a handful observe it as a paid holiday. Juneteenth has also been celebrated under other names such as:
- Freedom Day
- Jubilee Day
- Liberation Day
- Second Independence Day
- Emancipation Day.
Dolan Law Firm honors the celebration of Juneteenth all over the nation and acknowledges it’s crucial to find time to pause and reflect on our nation’s history of oppression, and the resounding call for true liberation and equal justice for all.