Happy Juneteenth 2021
This year marks the 156th anniversary of the date that news of the Emancipation Proclamation first reached Texas and was read aloud in Galveston on June 19,1865—two years after it had become U.S. law.
The moment was significant. Texas had been the last of the Confederate states in which enslavement continued, despite President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation
to end slavery in 1863 and despite the end of the Civil War on April 9, 1865. Texas was the most remote state in the Confederacy, and it took Union forces until June to reach Texas in sufficient numbers to announce and enforce the federal order that ended slavery there. The celebrations that followed the reading of the proclamation by General Gordon Granger began a tradition that has lasted for one hundred and fifty six years.
Since June 19, 1865, African Americans have observed and celebrated Juneteenth as Emancipation Day, a day of freedom. In 1980, Texas began marking Juneteenth as an official state holiday
, the first state to do so. Now, nearly all states commemorate or observe Juneteenth to some degree and on June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing June 19 as a federal holiday.
I hope you do something to promote unity today and everyday. Have a proud and happy Juneteenth.
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