What is Juneteenth?
Intercessors might have heard of a new holiday: Juneteenth. But what exactly is Juneteenth, and why is it seemingly so popular today?
The history of Juneteenth
Juneteenth, a portmanteau of “June” and “nineteenth,” refers to June 19, 1865, when African slaves in Galveston, Texas, were delivered the news of their freedom. Coming months after the defeat of the South in the U.S. Civil War and over two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, this day has come to be known as the proper end of slavery. Therefore, Americans celebrate Juneteenth as an independence day.
It is important to know that Juneteenth is not a new holiday, it has actually been celebrated in Texas since 1980. It took several decades, however, for the day to be recognized as the national holiday it is today.
Although every state came to recognize Juneteenth in one form or another, it was not until 2020 that the push to recognize the holiday national gained serious momentum. Following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other black Americans, countless protests broke out across the country as the Black Lives Matter movement once again took center stage. Among the calls for defunding the police was a push to nationally recognize Juneteenth. On June 17, 2021, President Biden signed a bipartisan bill into law, formally recognizing Juneteenth as the eleventh federal holiday.
The significance and celebration of Juneteenth
It would be wonderful for Juneteenth to be a positive time of the year filled with joy and celebration, marking the end of what is arguably the darkest stain on American history. All Americans could celebrate the unique melting pot that is the United States.
A year after its institution, many seem to be unsure over how Juneteenth should be celebrated.
Let’s pray that Juneteenth be a day of peace, joy, and unity. Juneteenth is a special day with an incredibly important meaning in American history. Let’s ask the Lord, “How should I celebrate this holiday?”
(Photo credit: Canva.)
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