All About Juneteenth

All+About+Juneteenth

Ethan Nguyen, Contributor

Slavery was a system used in the United States around in the 1600s to the late 1800s. People believe that slavery is cruel and many people wanted to abolish slavery. You may have heard people like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass who worked hard to abolish slavery. Slavery was such a big problem it led to one of the biggest wars ever, the Civil War. The Civil War was a war that included many conflicts including slavery itself.  However, in 1865, the 13th Amendment was adopted which freed slaves. Today, we celebrate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans on June 19th. This is called Juneteenth.

 

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people were freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end of slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday. On June 17, 2021, it officially became a federal holiday. Juneteenth is one of the most important holidays considering the fact that it is about a whole group of people in the United States whose families could’ve been impacted by the history that they had to deal with.

 Who came up with Juneteenth?

In 1945, Juneteenth was introduced in San Francisco by a migrant from Texas, Wesley Johnson. During the 1950s and 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement focused the attention of African Americans on expanding freedom and integration.

Where did Juneteenth start?

The celebration started with the freed slaves of Galveston, Texas. Although the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in the South in 1863, it could not be enforced in many places until after the end of the Civil War in 1865.

Why did Juneteenth start?

The reason why Juneteenth started was that it was the ending of a horrible system. Slavery was very cruel that slaves weren’t even considered people. Slaves were considered “property”, and people didn’t care how they feel. Seeing that over 250,000 enslaved African Americans had freedom felt like something that would never happen to them. Seeing the struggles that slaves had to go through is very heartbreaking and their lives were miserable. Slavery made the United States fight each other leading to 850,000 deaths. Seeing a country fight with its own people against each other doesn’t seem like a “united” country and this was all because of slavery. This put America in danger at the time and it was not right that the American people were fighting against other Americans. Juneteenth celebrates the ending and freedom of slaves, and there is no doubt that this is an extremely important and positive thing to America.

We should see Juneteenth as a very important holiday. Not only did this help enslaved people, but it helped America to stop using a system that is cruel and horrible. We should keep doing things that help the community, not separate or crush another group. We should learn from our past and make better decisions especially when it comes to shaping a country. In a country that is 244 years old, we should know better and know that we should help and love each other, not destroy or hurt others.