If you have been hearing or seeing a lot about the word Juneteeth and now you are curious about what is the purpose. You are not alone. I was in the same boat as you.
So, I decided to do some research to learn about Juneteenth and so I could educate myself and kids about it.
Photo credit: Stephenson, Mrs. Charles (Grace Murray).[Emancipation Day Celebration, June 19, 1900], photograph, June 19, 1900;(https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth124053/m1/1/:accessed June 18, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.
This is a nice short video that describes Juneteenth
Here are some facts about the holiday known as Juneteenth
On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation was formally issued stating that all enslaved persons were to be free
On June 18, 1865, Union Army General Gordon Granger went to Galveston Texas to share the information that slaves were free and that the relationship between owner and slave has changed to employer and employee. (This did not go well, many freedmen and women were hanged and murdered after this)
A lot of freedmen left to go reunite with dispersed family members and others moved up north
Freedmen in Texas organized the first of what became the annual celebration of "Jubilee Day" on June 19 in 1866
In 1872 black leaders in Texas raised $1,000 for the purchase of 10 acres (4 ha) of land to celebrate Juneteenth, today known as Houston's Emancipation Park
By the 1890s Jubilee Day had become known as Juneteenth
In the late 1970s, the Texas Legislature declared Juneteenth a "holiday of significance
January 1, 1980, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official state holiday
For more information visit: Juneteenth.com
More on the flag by Lisa Jeanne Graf:
"Juneteenth is the holiday that celebrates the day that all the slaves in America became free. I created the final design for the Juneteeth Flag. People who contributed to the process were Boston Ben, Verlene Hines, Azim, and Eliot Design. The Juneteenth flags represent the history, and freedom the American Slaves and their descendants. The design of the Juneteenth flag depicts a bursting "new star", on the horizon. The star represents A NEW FREEDOM, A NEW PEOPLE, A NEW STAR. The red, white, and blue colors communicate that the American Slaves, and their descendants were all Americans." source: www.ljgraf.com/flag_designs.html
How is Juneteenth Celebrated around the US?
Juneteenth is celebrated in numerous ways.
Here are some that I came across:
Sharing Family history and culture
Red velvet cake
"Red velvet cake, red strawberry soda, and red punch always made appearances. For a long time, relatives told young ones that the red symbolized the blood of the millions of enslaved people who had suffered and died. "- Source https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/what-is-juneteenth
Overall, I have learned a lot about this Holiday. I am happy to celebrate this for the first time with my kids tomorrow. I will be making my vegan versions of some of the popular dishes such as collard greens, cornbread, with some macaroni and buffalo chick n followed with a nice cool glass of hibiscus iced tea.
Make sure you do some research and check out some Juneteenth Activities for to do with your family.
Feel free to listen to my podcast on Juneteenth below