“I think the significance and purpose of recognizing Juneteenth is something that all citizens should acknowledge because, if there is not a retelling or remembrance of the true history in this nation, we’re doomed to repeat it.”  –Derrick Johnson, NAACP

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth, also known as “Emancipation Day” or “Freedom Day,” commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States of America. Although President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, news of freedom arrived slowly for many across the country. More than two years later, on June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 in Galveston, Texas, informing all enslaved people that they were free. Black communities in Texas started to gather each June 19th to celebrate the day with prayer services, readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, stories, food, dances, and red soda—some have linked the red symbolism to the bloodshed through the institution of slavery, but it is also tied to special drinks served in West Africa.

Suggested Reading on Juneteenth and Anti-Racism: 

  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in Americaby Ibram X. Kendi
  • Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America by W. Caleb McDaniel
  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
  • On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed

Celebrate Juneteenth with us by: