Commemoration of the Emancipation
Juneteenth is a national holiday in the United States because it holds historical significance as the commemoration of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger announced the end of slavery in Galveston, Texas, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth recognizes the day when news of freedom reached the last enslaved individuals. It is celebrated as a day of remembrance, reflection, and celebration of African American history, culture, and achievements. By designating it a national holiday, the U.S. acknowledges the struggles and injustices faced by enslaved African Americans, promotes unity, education, and dialogue on racial equality and social justice, and highlights the importance of human rights, equality, and justice for all citizens.
Juneteenth National Independence Day Act
Juneteenth became a national holiday in the United States with the signing of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act on June 17, 2021. The act was passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and then signed into law by President Joe Biden.
There are several reasons why Juneteenth was designated as a national holiday:
- Historical Significance: Juneteenth holds great historical significance as it commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of slavery, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. Juneteenth recognizes the day when news of freedom finally reached the last enslaved individuals in the United States.
- Cultural Celebration: Juneteenth is widely celebrated by African Americans as a day of remembrance, reflection, and celebration of their ancestors’ resilience and the progress made since the end of slavery. It serves as an opportunity to honor African American history, culture, and achievements.
- Recognition of Human Rights: Designating Juneteenth as a national holiday is a way to acknowledge the struggles and injustices faced by enslaved African Americans in the past. It underscores the importance of recognizing and promoting human rights, equality, and justice for all.
- National Unity and Education: The recognition of Juneteenth as a national holiday promotes a sense of unity and understanding among Americans. It provides an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to learn about and engage with the history and experiences of African Americans. It also encourages dialogue and education surrounding racial equality, social justice, and the ongoing fight against systemic racism.
Equality, Freedom, and Human Rights
By making Juneteenth a national holiday, the United States acknowledges the historical significance of the event, honors the experiences of African Americans, and emphasizes the importance of equality, freedom, and human rights for all citizens.