Juneteenth will be here in about two weeks (June 19) and in advance of the holiday, I wanted to share some information and resources that will help y'all learn more about the holiday and find some ways to celebrate among you and your family!
"The Juneteenth flags represent the history, and freedom the American Slaves and their descendants. The design of the Juneteenth flag depicts a bursting 'new star', on the horizon. The star represents A NEW FREEDOM, A NEW PEOPLE, A NEW STAR. The red, white, and blue colors communicate that the American Slaves, and their descendants were all Americans." Lisa Jeanne Graf created the final design for the Juneteeth Flag with contributions from Boston Ben, Verlene Hines, Azim, and Eliot Design.
Juneteenth, a blend of the words "June" and "nineteenth," is an emancipation celebration that is said to have begun on June 19, 1865, when Union Army soldiers arrived in Texas and informed slaves that they were free. It took this news two years, six months, and nineteen days after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to reach the slaves of Texas.
Reproduction of the Emancipation Proclamation at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OhioNews traveled slowly back in those days—it took Confederate soldiers in western Texas more than 2 months to hear that Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox. Still, some have struggled to explain the 30-month gap between the proclamation and freedom, leading some to suspect that Texan slave owners purposely suppressed the announcement. Other theories include that the original messenger was murdered to prevent the information from being relayed or that the Federal government purposely delayed the announcement to Texas in order to get one more cotton harvest out of the slaves. But the real reason is probably that Lincoln's proclamation simply wasn't enforceable in the rebel states before the end of the war.
Despite the announcement, Texas slave owners weren't too eager to part with what they felt was their property. When legally freed slaves tried to leave, many of them were beaten, lynched, or murdered. "They would catch [freed slaves] swimming across [the] Sabine River and shoot them," a former slave named Susan Merritt recalled.
Slaves wait for freedom in Watch Meeting - Dec. 31st 1862. Waiting for the Hour by William Tolman Carlton, 1863.
Today, African Americans come together all around the country to celebrate Juneteenth with traditions from the early days, including parades, picnics, music, speeches, crafts, and African dances. It is a celebration of freedom and hope.
Juneteenth celebration in Austin, Texas on June 19, 1900
In 1980, June 19th was made a legal holiday in Texas. Juneteenth is also celebrated in many others states. Every year, several million people of many different backgrounds celebrate Juneteenth in over 200 cities in the United States.
Teacher's Guide for "Juneteenth Jamboree"
The Middle Passage - the introduction to Tom Feelings book "The Middle Passage"
African-American Soldier and his family, circa 1865
Members of the Southern Nevada Buffalo Soldiers 9th and 10th Horse Cavalry Association Keith Hill, left, Kelly Hawthorne and Jon Jon Everet raise the official Juneteenth flag during a ceremony outside Las Vegas City Hall in downtown Las Vegas on Thursday, June 15, 2017. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Flag printable (Right click for options)