Emancipation Day in Texas in 2020

Emancipation Day in Texas in 2020
  How long until Emancipation Day?
This holiday next takes place in 212 days.
  Dates of Emancipation Day in Texas
2021 Sat, Jun 19Government Holiday
2020 Fri, Jun 19Government Holiday
2019 Wed, Jun 19Government Holiday
2018 Tue, Jun 19Government Holiday
2017 Mon, Jun 19Government Holiday
  Summary
Juneteenth is a state holiday in Texas. It commemorates the date in 1865 when news of the emancipation of African American slaves reached Galveston

When is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is a state holiday observed in Texas, USA on June 19th.

Officially known as Emancipation Day and also called Juneteenth Independence Day and Freedom Day, Juneteenth is a portmanteau word for June and nineteenth and commemorates the June 19th 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas and the emancipation of African-American slaves throughout the Confederate South.

History of Juneteenth

On January 1st 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared the end of slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation. Two and half years later, and two months after the end of the Civil War, Union troops arrived in Galveston on June 19th 1865 to find that news of the proclamation had not yet reached Galveston and that people were still being held as slaves in Texas.

The leader of the Union Troops, General Gordon Granger then formally announced the emancipation from the balcony of the former Confederate Army headquarters.

The reason why the news about the emancipation took so long to reach Texas is subject to speculation. One theory is that the messenger who was originally sent with the news had been killed before he reached Texas. A more likely scenario is that the local slave owners simply held onto the information, ignoring the emancipation order.

Although the news of the emancipation reached towns at different times across the South, there was a collective decision to recognize 19th June as the date of the emancipation. The date of the proclamation itself (January 1st) wasn't considered as the people wanted to mark the date when the slave's lives were actually affected by the new freedom.

The annual commemoration of this date, which became known as Juneteenth, was seen as a stabilizing and motivating presence in the lives of African-Americans in Texas, who despite their newly-acquired freedom, still faced many uncertainties and challenges.

Celebrations include parades, storytelling, barbecue and baseball. Strawberry soda pop is the drink of choice and the building from which General Granger read the Proclamation is now a historic landmark.

While Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States, it wasn't until 1980 that it was made an official state paid holiday in Texas, through the efforts of Texas state Rep. Al Edwards, D-Houston.

Note that state offices are not closed, but are staffed by a "skeleton crew."

According to the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, as of 2017, 45 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to officially recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or special day of observance. This number of states rose to 46 in 2019, when Pennsylvania designated June 19th as Juneteenth National Freedom Day.  The U.S. Senate established June 19th as Juneteenth Independence Day on June 19th 2015.


Sources

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