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Embracing Liberation: The Rise of Juneteenth as America's Newest Federal Holiday

June 19, 2024 | by sau1admin

A chalkboard sign that reads Juneteenth Freedom day on top of red, yellow, and green paper and stars.

Today is June 19th. Today, we celebrate the holiday known as Juneteenth. You might be asking yourself, what is Juneteenth, and why do we celebrate it? These are great questions. Keep reading to find out more about this holiday.

The Smithsonian Institute says, slavery ended for most African Americans with the Emancipation Proclamation, which was declared by Abraham Lincoln at the end of the Civil War in 1863. Legally, slavery didn't actually end until the 13th amendment was put into place in 1865. Until then, there were still slaves being forced to work in places like Texas. That is because the Confederate Army was still in charge.

On June 19th 1865, that all changed. That day, Union soldiers were sent to Texas to tell currently enslaved African Americans that they were free because of the 13th Amendment being passed. On that date, slavery ended for everyone!

That day then became known as Juneteenth. The Congressional Research Service says this day has been recognized by Congress through annual letters from the government every year since 1997, but it didn’t become a national holiday until 2021. This made Juneteenth the 12th federal holiday on the calendar. It is the first holiday to become a federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Check out our blog on Martin Luther King Day for more info on that holiday.

SAU1 is proud to support Juneteenth and promote acceptance and awareness of all through our activities. Happy Juneteenth, everyone!

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