What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is a federal holiday celebrating the commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. It lasts one day, and that special day is June 19th. You may keep reading if your interest has peaked about this amazing day; if not, this is your warning. Now, back to our main topic, back on June 19th, 1865, all slaves in the United States were free.  Two and a half years prior to that, Lincoln decided that the emancipation was much needed due to their battlefield loss. You may wonder, “how does the military’s loss affect slaves?” I’d be glad to tell you. Lincoln knew it was time for slaves to fight for their Union. This was because it would push over border states, such as Missouri, right over to the Confederacy. And in case you didn’t get an 8th grade education in American history, a border state or a “slave state” were US states that did not secede from the Union during the Civil War. One hundred and fifty-six years later, President Biden signed into law the Senate Bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday. Which I do think deserves a whoop whoop! The name Juneteenth comes from the two words June and nineteenth. However, Juneteenth has many other names such as Emancipation Day, Second Independence Day, Jubilee Day, and more. Juneteenth is such an important holiday, not only for African Americans, but for the entirety of the United States. After the abolishment of slavery, there was an increase in America’s economy and the labor stock grew. Don’t believe me? Look at Brazil. Brazil hadn’t gotten rid of slavery until the 1880’s and it was worse than America. Overall, Juneteenth is a meaningful holiday with a wonderful background.  

By Malia Swaggerty-Morgan, Freshman at West High School

Why Celebrate Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is as much of United States History as George Washington being the first President of the U.S., yet the story of Juneteenth has only recently been a holiday in America. The importance of Juneteenth is not only to celebrate the freedom of enslaved people, but to celebrate the many contributions enslaved, free Black/African Americans have contributed to this country and the world. The invention of the cotton gin, the stop light, ironing boards, food and spices (tasty southern cooking), and the list continues. Black/African American people have been the backbone of this country as well, and due to our ability to march, fight, go to court for civil rights, human rights, education, women rights and the war on poverty, so others are able to benefit from laws and policies supporting equitable rights for all American Citizens.

By Flora Lee

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