Juneteenth - Officially Juneteenth National Independence Day, is also known as Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day.
Originating in Galveston, Texas, it has been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States since 1865. It is a time to celebrate our Black history, culture and progress.
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 enslaved people in Texas, which was the last state of the Confederacy with institutional slavery.
In 1997, the Juneteenth Flag was born. The flag is the brainchild of activist Ben Haith, founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF). With collaborators, the flag you see below is flow in many cities across the United States. Since 1997, the Juneteenth Flag has undergone changes to include adding the year of the Emancipation.
The white star in the center of the flag has a dual meaning
For one, it represents Texas, the Lone Star State, where Union soldiers informed the country's last remaining enslaved people that, under the Emancipation Proclamation issued two years earlier, they were free.
But the star also represents the freedom of African Americans in all 50 states.
The bursting outline around the star is inspired by a nova, a term that astronomers use to mean a new star.
On the Juneteenth flag, this represents a new beginning for the African Americans of Galveston and throughout the land.
The curve that extends across the width of the flag represents a new horizon: the opportunities and promise that lay ahead for black Americans.
The red, white and blue represents the American flag, a reminder that slaves and their descendants were and are Americans.
Juneteenth - A federal holiday
On 17 June 2021, President Biden signed into law the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
Advocates and the Congressional Black Caucus led the charge to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. On June 15, 2021, the Senate unanimously passed; it subsequently passed through the House of Representatives by a 415–14 vote on June 16.
It is important to celebrate this day to remember how far we have come. The sacrifices made by those before us. We couldn’t be here, grand-fathered into the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, without their sacrifice.
Let us never forget the day that freedom was granted and became known for all slaves.
While we are still fighting for equality and justice, Juneteenth and its flag symbolize the continuous commitment for us and those who support the black community to hold the United States accountable to it's promise to do better -- and to live up to the American ideal of liberty and justice for all.