Growing up in Buffalo in the 70s I always wondered what Junetheeth meant and why we celebrated it. I know we learned about July 4 in school and the Emancipation Proclamation but not Juneteenth specifically. To my surprise, many Blacks in the US were unaware of the holiday and why it was celebrated when it was passed and announced as a legal holiday this past month by Vice President Kamala Harris.
While Independence Day (July 4) celebrates the passage of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and announced the freedom of the 13 North American colonies from Great Britain it preceded the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865 and black people were still enslaved in the fight for freedom continued then and many feel even now.
Abolitionist Frederick Douglas stated on July 5 that the July 4 holiday was “Your’s, not mine” as some feel that in American history that Americans are still fighting for the same freedom that the 13 colonies fought for in 1776.
Juneteenth was a huge landmark success when it was announced as a Federal Holiday. Juneteeth is celebrated to commemorate the freedom of 250,000 slaves in the state of Texas who were freed by executive decree in 1865. See more below…