Celebrating African American Freedom Day

A parade celebration of Emancipation Day in St. Augustine in 1922.

For nearly 100 years, Black communities throughout the country celebrated Juneteenth, long before it became an official federal holiday last year. Yet, at the same time, not enough people in any culture understand the significance of June 19.

It’s the traditional date commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States, also known as Freedom Day or Jubilee Day. Unlike the way news travels today at the push of a button with social media, news of the end of slavery didn’t reach certain areas of the United States for more than two years.

Historians say that Juneteenth (short for June 19) is recognized as either a state holiday or a day of observance in 45 states. When President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, it became the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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