Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States that has been celebrated by African-Americans since the late 1800s. The holiday marks the day in 1865 that slaves in Texas were finally told they were free, about two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee had surrendered. A full two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation, Gordon Granger, a Union general, arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. June 19th is considered the actual day of emancipation.
Although the day has been marked by celebrations for decades, with the nationwide protests calling for racial justice, the day has gained more widespread support. The Black Lives Matter movement, has helped put the discussions of racism at the forefront. In many ways, the change and protests across the country continue to spread awareness of systemic racism in our country. The Juneteenth celebration is a time to understand how race plays a role in society and how it has led to segregation, stereotyping, and exploitation.
This is an opportunity for all Americans to remember the oppression of African-Americans throughout our history as well as the engrained framework that has led to systemic racism in our society. This holiday is a time for families, friends, and allies to come together and honor the lives of all those impacted by racism and slavery.
A good way to learn more about Juneteenth is to take the time to read articles, watch documentaries, or scroll through social media. To create change and lead a society that is fair and equal for all, it is important to also remember the past.
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