Chicago — Juneteenth has been around since the 1860s, but was officially recognized in recent history.
Here’s a rundown of what the national holiday is, why we celebrate it and more.
What is Juneeteenth?
The holiday, celebrated on June 19 each year, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States and symbolizes freedom, achievement and the perseverance of African Americans throughout history.
Why do we celebrate Juneteenth?
To recognize the conditions undergone by some Americans unknowingly liberated by the Emancipation Proclamation. While it guaranteed freedom to enslaved people in states like Texas, it didn’t guarantee freedom in Union states like Maryland. It took the 13th Amendment to free all enslaved people in the country.
Juneteenth is also a day to promote and appreciate African American history and culture. Celebrating it helps to foster mutual respect and understanding among all races and ethnicities.
How is Juneteenth celebrated?
People celebrate the holiday with parades, barbecues, music performances and various public and private events that honor Black culture and heritage.
There have also been competitions for “Miss Juneteenth,” rodeos, races, block parties and a reading of the emancipation proclamation.
Where is Juneteenth celebrated?
Juneteenth is a federal holiday but only about half of the states recognize it as an official holiday. According to a Pew Research, 28 states and the District of Columbia legally recognized Juneteenth as a public holiday.
Noah Johnson (he/him/his) is a Chicago-based journalist. Follow him on Twitter: @noahwritestoo.
Edited by NaTyshca Pickett