It's Past Time For Juneteenth to Be Recognized as a National Holiday

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, ordering the end of slavery — and in textbooks and classrooms across the US, that’s usually where the story ends. But it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, that the last enslaved African Americans in Texas finally learned that they were free. More than 150 years after that historic day, Juneteenth or Jubilee Day has yet to be acknowledged as a national holiday.

The purpose of a holiday is to remember a notable event or tradition. By observing Juneteenth, the US would be acknowledging that American capitalism was built on slavery, and that not every American gained freedom when the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, now known as Independence Day. That day is cemented as a federal holiday, a tradition celebrated by citizens across the country that commemorates the birth of American independence. Every year, Americans gather to share stories, food, and drinks with their loved ones, to memorialize the day that this nation gained its freedom from Great Britain.

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