Wednesday, June 19, 2013

So What Exactly Is Juneteenth I Hear So Much About?

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

Though the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued on September 22, 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln, it did not change the day-to-day lives of slaves as they were in states under Confederate (insurgent) control. The Confederacy was the break away region of the United States during the American Civil War.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day Union (United States) General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived on Galveston Island in Texas to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves.

Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. In several cities across the US, both in the North where slavery was not permitted, the South where it ran rampant, and in the Western states that were wilderness in the 19th Century, various civic groups will mark the day with parades and celebrations.