Juneteenth, commemorated each year on June 19th, honors the day that permanently ended slavery in the United States. Although President Abraham Lincoln effectively ended slavery on January 1, 1863, certain confederate states such as Texas continued practicing the atrocity without much enforcement from state or federal government. With a lack of Union troops in Texas, 250,000 African Americans remained enslaved until U.S. General Gordon Granger reached the state and proclaimed that, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” The following year the freed Black community in Texas organized the first “Jubilee Day” which featured music, barbecues, prayer services, and other celebrations. Soon after, the ideas and traditions of Juneteenth spread across the United States, and today it has become the longest running African American holiday. For many African Americans, Juneteenth is celebrated as Independence Day each year. CCG recognizes and commends the historical legacy of Juneteenth and the promise of hope it embodies for the African American community.
By Marley Niesz