The Significance of the National Holiday Juneteenth, Black Independence Day

Juneteenth Flag
Official Juneteenth flag

Juneteenth is a national holiday on June 19th. Also known as Freedom Day, Black Independence Day, and Emancipation Day, the day is a celebration of the end of slavery in America. On this day in 1865, General Gordon Granger informed enslaved people in Galveston, Texas of their freedom from slavery. Although the Emancipation Proclamation from President Lincoln was supposed to end slavery in the union, news of the Proclamation had not reached Texas until Granger’s arrival.

On June 17th, President Joe Biden signed a bill into law declaring June 19th as Juneteenth National Independence Day, making Juneteenth a national holiday. While the recognition of this holiday is a symbolic victory, we must continue fighting for material change. Black people in America continue to face systemic oppression (for example, check out our article on defunding the police). Making Juneteenth a holiday does not count as reparations. No one is free until we are all free.

This holiday is an opportunity to educate yourself about the Black community, specifically the historical struggles it has faced and the ongoing systemic racism in American that continues to oppress Black people. Recognize Black struggles, celebrate Black excellence, and uplift Black voices. Do not overshadow or speak over the Black community, especially today on such an important holiday.

Additional Juneteenth reading

  1. Explore the official Juneteenth website.
  2. Check out this short quiz from CNN to see how much you know about Juneteenth.
  3. Read PBS’ account of the history of Juneteenth, its significance, and other related information.
  4. Britannica has a short, digestible article on Juneteenth.
  5. Another article on the significance of Juneteenth from Better Homes & Gardens.
  6. A guide to Juneteenth, for white people (but also applicable to other non-Black people).

Black charities and organizations

  1. Black Lives Matter
  2. The Black Mental Health Alliance
  3. Black Girls CODE
  4. The HBCU Foundation
  5. Black AIDS Institute
  6. Black Women for Wellness
  7. Center for Black Equity
  8. The DuSable Museum of African American History
  9. National Black Justice Coalition
  10. Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
  11. Equal Justice Initiative
  12. Trans Women of Color Collective
  13. Thurgood Marshall College Fund
  14. Know Your Rights Camp
  15. Black Women in Motion
  16. Black Mamas Matter
  17. Black Women’s Blueprint
  18. The Loveland Foundation
  19. Campaign Zero
  20. For a more comprehensive list of Black charities, check out the Charity Navigator’s page.
  21. Here’s a thread of Black businesses, charities, and people to support.
  22. Here’s a thread of Black LGBTQ+ people’s GoFundMes that haven’t met their goals.
  23. Here’s a thread of Black trans women’s GoFundMes that are in need of mutual aid.
  24. Here’s a thread of Black disabled people’s GoFundMes to donate to.

Happy Juneteenth, everyone!

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