Juneteenth, short for “June 19,” is a celebration of freedom for Black communities.
This year Juneteenth will be observed as a federally recognized holiday for the very first time. President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law on June 17, 2021. Juneteenth is June 19, 2021. Since the date falls on Saturday this year, the federal holiday is being observed on Friday, June 18, 2021.
Modern observance is primarily in local celebrations. Traditions include public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, singing traditional songs such as “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, and reading of works by noted African-American writers, such as Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou. Celebrations include rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, park parties, historical reenactments, and Miss Juneteenth contests. Looking for your own way to celebrate? Checkout these ideas from the Seattle Times:
Juneteenth (officially Juneteenth National Independence Day and historically known as Jubilee Day, Black Independence Day, and Emancipation Day is a holiday observed in the United States. The holiday commemorates the end of slavery. Originating in Galveston, Texas, it has been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States since 1866. Juneteenth’s commemoration is on the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865, announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom for slaves in Texas. Juneteenth is also celebrated by the Mascogos, descendants of Black Seminoles who escaped from U.S. slavery in 1852 and settled in Coahuila, Mexico.