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June (the Nine) Teenth National Holiday Today in USA.

Image: Government of Colorado. On June 19th African-Americans celebrate the end of slavery in the US in 1865.

By Editor-June 19th, 2023.

Juneteenth is a US federal holiday, and this year, at least 28 states and the District of Columbia will legally recognise it as a public holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans.

It marks the day on June 19, 1865, when the last enslaved people in the country were set free by federal troops in Galveston, Texas. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation that declared it a federal holiday.

Deriving its name from combining June and nineteenth, it is celebrated on the anniversary of the order by Major General Gordon Granger proclaiming freedom for enslaved people two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.

Originating in Galveston, Juneteenth has since been observed annually in various parts of the United States, often broadly celebrating African American culture.

Confederate soldiers surrendered in April 1865, but word did not reach the last enslaved Black people until June 19 when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to Galveston.

Slavery was permanently abolished six months later when Georgia ratified the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution. And the next year, the now-free people of Galveston started celebrating Juneteenth, an observance that has continued and spread around the world.

The day was first recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law.

Early celebrations date back to 1866, at first involving church-centered community gatherings in Texas. They spread across the Southern USA and became more commercialized in the 1920s and 1930s, often centering on a food festival.

Participants in the Great Migrantion of the 1920s brought these celebrations to the rest of the country. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, these celebrations were eclipsed by the determination to achieve civil rights, but grew in popularity again in the 1970s with a focus on African American freedom.

Beginning with Texas by proclamation in 1938, and by legislation in 1979, every U.S. state has formally recognized the holiday in some way.

Juneteenth is also celebrated by the Mascogos, descendants of Black Seminoles who escaped from slavery in 1852 and settled in CoahuilaMexico.

Sources: News agencies, Wikipedia, Al Jazeera.