As the protests force more and more Americans to grapple with racism in the country's past and present, some places that didn't already mark Juneteenth as a paid holiday moved in recent days to do so, including NY state and Huntington, West Virginia. This year's observance takes on special significance amid protests across the country demanding racial equality and justice following the death of George Floyd while in police custody.
"They're required viewing. We actually sent a link around to the Juneteenth episode to everyone at ABC Entertainment in advance of Friday's holiday".
In the 1970s, African Americans' renewed interest in celebrating their cultural heritage led to the revitalization of the holiday throughout the state.
It wasn't until June 19, 1865 that General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas with a troop of Union Soldiers and read the Emancipation Proclamation aloud. Texas often remained far afield of the action in the Civil War, and it wasn't until very late-after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox-that the Union Army took control of the state.
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Some have also declared Juneteenth an official holiday, and are giving employees the day off.
Brown and Heard said the events unfolding across the country right now means an inclusive and educational celebration like the Juneteenth Festival is needed now more than ever.
"Join us in decrying racism in every form, and declaring unity from the church across lines of race, class, denomination, and culture", OneRace, an ecumenical group that organized the march, said in a statement. In that moment, he announced freedom of almost 250,000 enslaved people there. Wherever they were, the website explains, the day involved bringing families together to celebrate with prayer and barbecues. NY state Governor Andrew Cuomo declared on Wednesday, June 17, that Juneteenth would also be a holiday for state employees. President Donald Trump is travelling to the Oklahoma city's first campaign rally in three months, originally scheduled for Friday but moved to Saturday after an outcry. On Tuesday, June 16, the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, proposed legislation to make Juneteenth a paid state holiday for Virginia residents. "I started wondering, is this another example of how a national holiday is formed?" Most states and the District of Columbia observe it, with only Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire and the Dakotas "holding out". She said the trend is reflective of an era of growing employee activism pushing companies to take stands on social issues. Numerous things you might see at a Juneteenth Celebration in 2020 stem from the very first celebrations back in the late 1860s.
Given the additional attention the holiday is now receiving, here are four facts to know about Juneteenth.