Juneteenth

Facts for Prelims

Juneteenth

News: Juneteenth — a combination of ‘June’ and 'nineteenth' — marks the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in the United States learned they were free.

How did Juneteenth start?
• The celebrations began with enslaved people in Galveston, Texas. Although President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in 1863, it could not be enforced in many places in the South until the Civil War ended in 1865. Even then, some white people who had profited from their unpaid labor were reluctant to share the news.

What does Juneteenth mean?
• It’s a blend of the words June and nineteenth. The holiday has also been called Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, second Independence Day and Emancipation Day.
• The day has evolved over the years, with people and communities developing their own traditions and customs.
• The US President signed legislation in 2021 to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
• All 50 US states have proclamations in place to recognize and celebrate Juneteenth. But it is not a universal American holiday just yet. 

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