Please join us in celebrating Juneteenth! Learning about our nation’s history helps us improve as a society and teaches empathy. Juneteenth today celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures.
Did you know….
- Juneteenth is short for June Nineteenth
- Juneteenth marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed
- Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday
- In 1865, freedmen in Texas organized the first of what became the annual celebration of “Jubilee Day” on June 19
- In the ensuing decades, Juneteenth commemorations featured music, barbecues, prayer services and other activities, and as Black people migrated from Texas to other parts of the country the Juneteenth tradition spread
- Opal Lee, a retired Texas teacher, counselor, and activist, is often described as the “grandmother of Juneteenth”
- She campaigned for decades to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, leading annual 2.5 miles walks to represent the 2.5 years it took for news of the Emancipation Proclamation to reach Texas. At age 89, she conducted a symbolic walk from Fort Worth to Washington, D.C., leaving in September 2016 and arriving in Washington in January 2017. She promoted a Change.org petition for a Juneteenth federal holiday, garnering 1.6 million signatures. At age 94, she was an honored guest at the 2021 bill-signing ceremony declaring Juneteenth a national holiday. In 2022, over 30 Congressional members nominated Lee for the Nobel Peace Prize.