Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Reuters, USA Today, and Vox explain Juneteenth

A joyous Juneteenth! I'm celebrating the newest federal holiday with three videos beginning with Reuters asking and answering What is Juneteenth, America's newest federal holiday?

Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, is observed on June 19 each year. It became a U.S. federal holiday in 2021, following the signing of a bill by President Joe Biden[.]
This video serves as an update to USA Today asking and answering What is Juneteenth? The holiday's history and significance, explained.

President Joe Biden signed legislation marking Juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, as a federal holiday.

The president signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act at 3:30 p.m. on June 17 in the East Room of the White House. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris also gave remarks on the passage of the bill and the significance of the holiday.
That's a good overview of the holiday as of 2021 with an even better preview image, one so colorful that I originally placed it first.

For more depth, I'm sharing Vox explaining Why all Americans should honor Juneteenth.

An historian explains the history and significance of the holiday.
Note: This video was previously titled, "Juneteenth, explained." The title has been changed to better reflect the video's content.

When American schoolchildren learn about chattel slavery in the US, we’re often told it ended with Abraham Lincoln’s signature on the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.

But, as late as June 19, 1865, enslaved people in Texas were still held in bondage. On that date, the Federal troops entered the state and began to punish slave holders and former confederates who refused to obey the law.

“Juneteenth is a deeply emotional moment for enslaved people,” says historian Karlos K. Hill, of the University of Oklahoma.

In Texas and across the country, emancipated African Americans began celebrating annually, with parades, concerts, and picnics. “Being able to go wherever they want and being able to wander about; for enslaved people, it was an expression of their freedom,” says Hill. “Formerly enslaved people celebrating, in public, their newfound freedom, was an act of resistance.”

However, by 1877, the Federal government had largely abandoned the South. The lynching era— when hundreds of African Americans were killed by white mobs each year across the North and the South— began soon after.

Today, Dr. Hill says, commemorating Juneteenth is important for all Americans because it helps us see all the ways that slavery still shapes this country, including, as he says, “the desire to master and dominate black bodies.”
As much as I like Vox's videos, I'm surprised I haven't embedded this one in one of my previous posts. It was about time I did.

That's a wrap for today's holiday. Stay tuned for more celebrations of American Eagle Day, National Seashell Day, the Summer Solstice, World Giraffe Day, World Rainforest Day, Detroit-Style Pizza Day, and Souther. As I wrote yesterday, I have the rest of my blogging week already cut out for me!

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