Celebrate Freedom

Black Culture, Black Excellence, Black Girl Magic, Black History, Juneteenth -

Celebrate Freedom

What is Juneteenth? Is still a common question for many, so we wanted to provide some insight into the history of the holiday and what it means to Black people and Black culture. 

The History

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas, with the news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Two years prior to that, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation outlawing slavery in the South, but the news hadn't made it to most confederate states. Union soldiers took it upon themselves to travel and deliver the news, reaching Texas last because it was the most remote and out of reach of Union armies. 

On June 19, 1865, upon the arrival of General Granger, and the reading of General Order No. 3, the enslaved were informed that they were free, making Juneteenth a significant holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

The Celebration 

The first Juneteenth celebrations began in 1866, with festivities that included music, dancing, prayer services, and food; and the same concept still remains today. From parades, concerts, community service activities, block parties and cookouts, Juneteenth symbolizes a time to celebrate blackness and celebrate freedom in the Black community. Juneteenth events are rooted in a strong sense of pride, self-reflection and the joy of being Black.

When we gather, there is so much magic that happens; you see Black men smiling, Black women being appreciated, an exchange of compliments between strangers and the feeling of love overwhelms the space. There is always a reason to celebrate blackness but any time we have the stage to all be on one accord in the same moment we should take full advantage of that. There is so much power in loving who we are, recognizing what we've been through as a people and not allowing that to hinder our presence or our future.

Juneteenth is a reminder of our resilience in the journey towards freedom and we should celebrate it every time. 

The Journey

The fact that so many people pose the question 'What is Juneteenth?' means that not enough of us are talking about it. Although the number of celebrations continuously increase year after year, we must continue to educate ourselves and others on the significance of the day and why it's important to us. 

Take note to the fact that it's only been three years since Juneteenth was officially recognized as a federal holiday, which speaks to the journey of our history being recognized in this country. After 156 years the nation was made aware of the day that marked the end of the enslavement of Black people, and some still question why their bank is closed today.

We have always taken the reins when it comes to educating ourselves about our history, maintaining traditions and expanding our culture, and this is no different. So, continue to spread the word about Juneteenth, celebrate the journey to freedom and embrace the essence of being Black.