Thursday, June 19, 2008


I'd never heard of Juneteenth til I moved to Texas. It's now an annual holiday in 29 states. Juneteenth originated in Galveston, Texas. In Texas it is called "Emancipation Day in Texas." At least that's what it says on my calendar. For more than a century Texas was the main location for Juneteenth celebrations.

I just got back here and saw what must be a big Juneteenth celebration setup, at least I assume that's what it is, in the open field next to my neighborhood Home Depot. I saw a Channel 5 TV crew set up in the Kroger parking lot across the street.

It looks like a big deal. Why was I not informed?

I've not actually ever attended a Juneteenth celebration. From 1870 til 1980 Texas pretty much celebrated Juneteenth alone. Since 1980 it became an official holiday in Texas. After that other states jumped on the Juneteenth bandwagon, including my own home state of Washington. So, now Washingtonians know what Juneteenth is. As do Oregon, California and Alaska.

So, Juneteenth is now a holiday on the entire west coast. Except for British Columbia. But that's in Canada. Canadians are always behind the curve.

This Juneteenth thing is a classic example of how Texas is always ahead of the rest of the nation. Well, sometimes.

1 comment:

DOC said...

Juneteenth is America’s 2nd Independence Day celebration. Americans of African descent were trapped in the tyranny of enslavement on the country's first "4th of July", 1776, Independence Day. We honor our ancestors, Americans of African descent, who heard the news of freedom and celebrated with great joy and jubilation, on the "19th of June", Juneteenth, 1865.

It took over 88 years for the news of freedom to be announced in Southwest Texas, over two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln.

The National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign has worked diligently for several years to establish legislation in 29 states to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or state holiday observance, the District of Columbia, as well as the Congress of the United States. This has been a great accomplishment for the "Modern Juneteenth Movement" in America, reaching far beyond the establishment of Juneteenth as a state holiday in the place were it all began, in Texas, first celebrated in 1980.

Together we will see Juneteenth become a National Holiday in America!

Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D.
National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign
National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)
National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC)