Tomorrow, on June 19th, the USA will celebrate Juneteenth as a federal holiday for the first time ever. Since it falls in a Saturday this year, many federal workers will have the day off today on Friday, June 18th while other companies will offer Monday, June 21st off.
But what is Juneteenth? It is a celebration of the emancipation of African American slaves, so basically, the end of slavery in the USA. Originating in Galveston, Texas, in 1866, it has been celebrated annually on June 19th throughout the United States. National Geographic is referring to it as a second Independence Day.
Celebrating this holiday is generally pretty laid back. People generally have picnics, rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, park parties, historical reenactments, blues festivals, and Miss Juneteeth contents.
Although the holiday celebrates the freedom of African Americans, anyone can participate. If you want to take part as an ally, you can check if there are any organized events locally. You can also consider donating or supporting Black-owned businesses, restaurants, and important causes.
Juneteenth Federal Holiday
While it has been an official state holiday in Texas since 1980, it hasn’t been celebrated federally until this year. Historically speaking, it became less popular in the 1900s but then regained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. With everything that has been going on in the USA with the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a great win for the country.