Juneteenth National Independence Day celebrates the true end of slavery in the United States. For many years, the Crispus Attucks Community Center has commemorated this important day through cultural events and celebrations, which have included a men’s cooking event, golf tournament, history lectures, and most recently during the pandemic, with a video project featuring multiple generations Black community leaders.
In 2023, the Center will host a cultural mixer on Sunday, June 18, from 5-8p.m. to bring the community together in celebration of Juneteenth. This free event will include food and beverages, performances, history, and time to gather and reflect.
You’re probably familiar with the Emancipation Proclamation, in which President Abraham Lincoln in 1862 declared the millions of enslaved people in the United States to be free.
But what you might not realize is that despite this order, human enslavement didn’t end for much of the country until years later. Because word traveled slowly back then, and because many enslavers refused to obey the proclamation, Black people in deep southern states continued to be held in illegal and immoral conditions, including in Texas, where people continued to enslave humans even after the Civil War ended in April of 1865.
On June 18, 1865, Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, with 2,000 troops to occupy the state on behalf of the federal government and to enforce the conditions of the Confederacy’s surrender, which included an end to slavery. The next day, June 19, General Granger read aloud the declaration announcing the total abolition of slavery in Texas. Juneteenth celebrations were common until a decline during the Jim Crow era, and then the holiday spread during the Great Migration, a time between 1916 and 1970 when 6 million African American families moved out of the rural Southern United States.
In 1979, Texas was the first state to establish Juneteenth as an official state holiday, in 2019, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed into law Act 9, designating June 19 as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day,” an official state holiday, and in 2021 Juneteenth became a national holiday. Currently 49 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday, a ceremonial holiday, or a day of observance.
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