This year Be The Match is hosting its first organization-wide Juneteenth celebration.
Juneteenth: A brief history
- Juneteenth—a combination of the words “June” and “19th—is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.
- Juneteenth is also known as Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day and Cel-Liberation Day.
- On June 19, 1865: Major General Gordon Granger, landed in Galveston, Texas with news the Civil War was over and all enslaved people were, therefore, free.
- General Granger’s news came more than two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Juneteenth: A pause in celebrations
- In the early 20th century, Juneteenth celebrations declined with the advent of Jim Crow laws.
- It was hard to celebrate freedom when black people were still being oppressed.
- After WWII, there was an increase in civil rights activities in the African American community which sparked the civil rights movement.
- Juneteenth celebrations started back up in 1968 with the end of the civil rights movement. One coincided with the “Poor People’s March” in Washington, D.C.
- The first state to officially recognize Juneteenth as a holiday was Texas in 1980.
- As of 2019, 46 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to officially recognize Juneteenth. It is not yet a Federal Holiday.
- Juneteenth commemorations vary across the United States. Many feature music, barbecues, prayer services and other activities.
- Red drinks/Strawberry pop are traditionally served at celebrations to tie back to West Africa and its symbolism for this American celebration.
1997, Ben Haith created a Juneteenth flag to be raised on the holiday to the
black people’s anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing."
Lift Every Voice and Sing” was written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson in 1900 and set to music by his brother, J. Rosamond Johnson, in 1905.