A New Holiday, Too Long Coming

Tomorrow (June 19, 2021) will be the first official Federal Juneteenth. Some states have established it as such, but never, until now, our Federal Government. It’s a holiday that has been celebrated by a large portion of Americans for years but was made official by Congress just in time to recognize it this year, 2021.  It has existed among African-Americans since 1865 and reflects the Emancipation Proclamation, which Lincoln had signed two years before but which didn’t reach throughout the country until African-Americans learned about it in Texas in 1865.  It has also been referred to as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day, which sums up its significance.  It’s a time for Americans with roots in Africa to be joyful about not only their freedom but also their culture and achievements.  It’s a time, too, for the rest of us to celebrate the end of a disgraceful, dehumanizing period in our nation’s history and to vow to work harder toward eliminating the social, economic, and political vestiges of that period that still exist as a shadow over our country today.

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