But what exactly is the significance of the date?
Juneteenth is not just a product of the Black Lives Matter movement. It commemorates the day the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln to free enslaved African Americans in secessionist states on Jan. 1, 1863, was finally fully realized. The enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, did not learn of their freedom until two years after it was granted.
They were informed of their freedom by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger. This occurred on June 19, 1865—establishing the importance of Juneteenth.
According to USA Today, although the proclamation was issued years prior, those who held slaves were responsible for informing them of the directive, and of course, those who wanted to keep their slaves and power refused to do so.
While the holiday is widely known as Juneteenth due to it being associated with the date June 19, it is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day.
While always celebrated across the country, Congress made Juneteenth a national holiday after passing the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in June 2021. Biden then signed the bill into law on June 17.
"Today’s Senate passage of our legislation to commemorate Juneteenth as a federal holiday will address this long-ignored gap in our history, recognize the wrong that was done, acknowledge the pain and suffering of generations of slaves and their descendants, and finally celebrate their freedom," said Sen. Ed Markey during the bill’s passage. Markey first introduced the Juneteenth bill in 2020 following the murders of Floyd and Breonna Taylor, but it did not pass.
According to a new Gallup poll, since Biden made Juneteenth a national holiday, six in 10 Americans now believe they know "a lot" or "some" about Juneteenth, compared to less than four in 10 in May 2021.
"As the nation prepares to celebrate the second Juneteenth federal holiday, more Americans have become familiar with its significance in U.S. and Black history," Gallup said.
This year Juneteenth will be observed on Monday, June 20. Share your celebrations below and don’t forget to join Daily Kos in celebrating Juneteenth! Visit our page dedicated to Juneteenth to access resources and other information regarding supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Our work to end racial injustice is ongoing and cannot end with celebrations like Juneteeth.
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