Juneteenth

Last updated

Juneteenth
Emancipation Day celebration - 1900-06-19.jpg
Juneteenth celebration in Austin, Texas, on June 19, 1900
Also calledFreedom Day or Emancipation Day
Observed byResidents of the United States, especially African Americans
Mascogos
TypeEthnic, historical
SignificanceEmancipation of the last remaining enslaved people in the United States
ObservancesExploration and celebration of African-American history and heritage
Date June 19
Next timeJune 19, 2019 (2019-06-19)
Frequencyannual

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is an American holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas, and more generally the emancipation of enslaved African Americans throughout the former Confederate States of America. Its name is a portmanteau of "June" and "nineteenth", the date of its celebration. [1] [2] Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in forty-five states. [3]

Emancipation Proclamation executive order issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 that freed Southern slaves

The Emancipation Proclamation, or Proclamation 95, was a presidential proclamation and executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. It changed the federal legal status of more than 3.5 million enslaved African Americans in the designated areas of the South from slave to free. As soon as a slave escaped the control of the Confederate government, by running away or through advances of federal troops, the former slave became free. Ultimately, the rebel surrender liberated and resulted in the proclamation's application to all of the designated former slaves. It did not cover slaves in Union areas that were freed by state action. It was issued as a war measure during the American Civil War, directed to all of the areas in rebellion and all segments of the executive branch of the United States.

Slavery System under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work

Slavery is any system in which principles of property law are applied to people, allowing individuals to own, buy and sell other individuals, as a de jure form of property. A slave is unable to withdraw unilaterally from such an arrangement and works without remuneration. Many scholars now use the term chattel slavery to refer to this specific sense of legalised, de jure slavery. In a broader sense, however, the word slavery may also refer to any situation in which an individual is de facto forced to work against their own will. Scholars also use the more generic terms such as unfree labour or forced labour to refer to such situations. However, and especially under slavery in broader senses of the word, slaves may have some rights and protections according to laws or customs.

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

Contents

Today it is observed primarily in local celebrations. Traditions include public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, singing traditional songs such as "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Lift Every Voice and Sing", and reading of works by noted African-American writers such as Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou. [4] Celebrations may include rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, park parties, historical reenactments, or Miss Juneteenth contests. [5] The Mascogos, descendants of Black Seminoles, of Coahuila, Mexico also celebrate Juneteenth. [6]

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot American negro spirtual song

"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is an American negro spiritual. The earliest known recording was in 1909, by the Fisk Jubilee Singers of Fisk University.

"Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" – often referred to as the "Negro national hymn" – is a song written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) in 1900 and set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873–1954) in 1905.

African Americans are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of the black racial groups of Africa. The term typically refers to descendants of enslaved black people who are from the United States.

History

Ashton Villa, from whose front balcony General Order #3 was read on June 19, 1865 Ashton Villa Galveston Texas.jpg
Ashton Villa, from whose front balcony General Order #3 was read on June 19, 1865

During the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, with an effective date of January 1, 1863. It declared that all enslaved persons in the Confederate States of America in rebellion and not in Union hands were to be freed. This excluded the five states known later as border states, which were the four "slave states" not in rebellion – Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, and Missouri – and those counties of Virginia soon to form the state of West Virginia, and also the three zones under Union occupation: the state of Tennessee, lower Louisiana, and Southeast Virginia.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Abraham Lincoln 16th president of the United States

Abraham Lincoln was an American statesman, politician, and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War, its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. He preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the U.S. economy.

Confederate States of America (de facto) federal republic in North America from 1861 to 1865

The Confederate States of America, commonly referred to as the Confederacy, was an unrecognized country in North America that existed from 1861 to 1865. The Confederacy was originally formed by seven secessionist slave-holding states—South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas—in the Lower South region of the United States, whose economy was heavily dependent upon agriculture, particularly cotton, and a plantation system that relied upon the labor of African-American slaves.

More isolated geographically, Texas was not a battleground, and thus the people held there as slaves were not affected by the Emancipation Proclamation unless they escaped. [7] Planters and other slaveholders had migrated into Texas from eastern states to escape the fighting, and many brought enslaved people with them, increasing by the thousands the enslaved population in the state at the end of the Civil War. [8] Although most enslaved people lived in rural areas, more than 1000 resided in both Galveston and Houston by 1860, with several hundred in other large towns. [9] By 1865, there were an estimated 250,000 enslaved people in Texas. [8] The older, and Hispanic, town of San Antonio had 168 among a population of 3,436. [9]

Galveston, Texas City in Texas

Galveston is a coastal resort city and port off the southeast coast on Galveston Island and Pelican Island in the American State of Texas. The community of 209.3 square miles (542 km2), with an estimated population of 50,180 in 2015, is the county seat of surrounding Galveston County and second-largest municipality in the county. It is also within the Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area at its southern end on the northwestern coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Hispanic America Region comprising the American countries inhabited by Spanish-speaking populations

Hispanic America, also known as Spanish America, is the region comprising the Spanish-speaking nations in the Americas.

San Antonio City in Texas, United States

San Antonio, officially the City of San Antonio, is the seventh-most populous city in the United States, and the second-most populous city in both Texas and the Southern United States, with more than 1.5 million residents. Founded as a Spanish mission and colonial outpost in 1718, the city became the first chartered civil settlement in present-day Texas in 1731. The area was still part of the Spanish Empire, and later of the Mexican Republic. Today it is the state's oldest municipality.

The news of General Robert E. Lee's surrender on April 9 reached Texas later in the month. [10] The Army of the Trans-Mississippi did not surrender until June 2. [8] On June 18, Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston Island with 2,000 federal troops to occupy Texas on behalf of the federal government. [7] The following day, standing on the balcony of Galveston's Ashton Villa, Granger read aloud the contents of "General Order No. 3", announcing the total emancipation of those held as slaves:

Robert E. Lee General in Chief of the Armies of the Confederate States

Robert Edward Lee was an American and Confederate soldier, best known as a commander of the Confederate States Army. He commanded the Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War from 1862 until his surrender in 1865. A son of Revolutionary War officer Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee III, Lee was a top graduate of the United States Military Academy and an exceptional officer and military engineer in the United States Army for 32 years. During this time, he served throughout the United States, distinguished himself during the Mexican–American War, and served as Superintendent of the United States Military Academy.

Army of the Trans-Mississippi field army of the Confederate States Army

The Army of the Trans-Mississippi was a major Confederate army under the Department of the Trans-Mississippi during the American Civil War. It was the last major Confederate command to surrender, submitting on May 26, 1865, exactly one month after General Johnston had surrendered in the eastern United States.

Union Army Land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War

During the American Civil War, the Union Army referred to the United States Army, the land force that fought to preserve the Union of the collective states. Also known as the Federal Army, it proved essential to the preservation of the United States of America as a working, viable republic.

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere. [11]

Emancipation Day celebration in Richmond, Virginia in 1905 Emancipation Day in Richmond, Virginia, 1905.jpg
Emancipation Day celebration in Richmond, Virginia in 1905

Formerly enslaved people in Galveston rejoiced in the streets after the announcement, although in the years afterward many struggled to work through the changes against resistance of whites. The following year, freedmen organized the first of what became the annual celebration of Juneteenth in Texas. [11] In some cities African-Americans were barred from using public parks because of state-sponsored segregation of facilities. Across parts of Texas, freed people pooled their funds to purchase land to hold their celebrations, such as Houston's Emancipation Park, Mexia's Booker T. Washington Park, and Emancipation Park in Austin. [8] [11]

Although the date is sometimes referred to as the "traditional end of slavery in Texas" it was given legal status in a series of Texas Supreme Court decisions between 1868 and 1874. [12]

In the early 20th century, economic and political forces led to a decline in Juneteenth celebrations. From 1890 to 1908, Texas and all former Confederate states passed new constitutions or amendments that effectively disenfranchised black people, excluding them from the political process. White-dominated state legislatures passed Jim Crow laws imposing second-class status. The Great Depression forced many black people off farms and into the cities to find work. In these urban environments, African Americans had difficulty taking the day off to celebrate. The Second Great Migration began during World War II, when many black people migrated to the West Coast where skilled jobs in the defense industry were opening up. [13] From 1940 through 1970, in the second wave of the Great Migration, more than 5 million black people left Texas, Louisiana and other parts of the South for the North and West Coast. As historian Isabel Wilkerson writes, "The people from Texas took Juneteenth Day to Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, and other places they went." [14]

By the 1950s and 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement focused the attention of African-American youth on the struggle for racial equality and the future, but many linked these struggles to the historical struggles of their ancestors. Following the 1968 Poor People's Campaign to Washington, DC called by Rev. Ralph Abernathy, many attendees returned home and initiated Juneteenth celebrations in areas where the day was not previously celebrated.

Since the 1980s and 1990s, the holiday has been more widely celebrated among African-American communities. In 1994 a group of community leaders gathered at Christian Unity Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana to work for greater national celebration of Juneteenth. [15] Expatriates have celebrated it in cities abroad, such as Paris. [16] Some US military bases in other countries sponsor celebrations, in addition to those of private groups. [16] [17]

Although the holiday is still mostly unknown outside African-American communities, it has gained mainstream awareness through depictions in entertainment media, such as episodes of TV series Atlanta (2016) [18] and Black-ish (2017), [19] the latter of which featured musical numbers about the holiday by Aloe Blacc, The Roots, [20] and Fonzworth Bentley. [21] [22]

Official status

In 1980, Texas was the first state to establish Juneteenth as a state holiday under legislation introduced by freshman Democratic state representative Al Edwards. [23] Juneteenth is a "partial staffing" holiday in Texas; government offices do not close but agencies may operate with reduced staff, and employees may either celebrate this holiday or substitute it with one of four "optional holidays" recognized by Texas.

By 2008, nearly half of US states observed the holiday as a ceremonial observance. [7] As of 2014, 43 of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as either a state holiday or ceremonial holiday, a day of observance. [24] States that do not recognize it are Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. [25] [26]

In 1996 the first legislation to recognize "Juneteenth Independence Day" was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.J. Res. 195, sponsored by Barbara-Rose Collins (D-MI). In 1997 Congress recognized the day through Senate Joint Resolution 11 and House Joint Resolution 56. In 2013 the U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 175, acknowledging Lula Briggs Galloway (late president of the National Association of Juneteenth Lineage) who "successfully worked to bring national recognition to Juneteenth Independence Day", and the continued leadership of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation. [27] In 2018 Apple added Juneteenth to its calendars in iOS under official US holidays. [28]

Organizations such as the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation are seeking a Congressional designation of Juneteenth as a national day of observance. [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

Kwanzaa African-American holiday

Kwanzaa is a celebration held in the United States and in other nations of the African diaspora in the Americas and lasts a week. The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving. Kwanzaa has seven core principles. It was created by Maulana Karenga and was first celebrated in 1966–67.

Abolitionism movement to end slavery

Abolitionism was the movement to end slavery. This term can be used both formally and informally. In Western Europe and the Americas, abolitionism was a historic movement that sought to end the Atlantic slave trade and set slaves free. King Charles I of Spain, usually known as Emperor Charles V, was following the example of Louis X of France, who had abolished slavery within the Kingdom of France in 1315. He passed a law which would have abolished colonial slavery in 1542, although this law was not passed in the largest colonial states, and it was not enforced as a result. In the late 17th century, the Roman Catholic Church officially condemned the slave trade in response to a plea by Lourenço da Silva de Mendouça, and it was also vehemently condemned by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839. The abolitionist movement only started in the late 18th century, however, when English and American Quakers began to question the morality of slavery. James Oglethorpe was among the first to articulate the Enlightenment case against slavery, banning it in the Province of Georgia on humanitarian grounds, and arguing against it in Parliament, and eventually encouraging his friends Granville Sharp and Hannah More to vigorously pursue the cause. Soon after his death in 1785, Sharp and More united with William Wilberforce and others in forming the Clapham Sect.

Gonzales County, Texas County in the United States

Gonzales County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 19,807. The county is named for its county seat, the city of Gonzales. The county was created in 1836 and organized the following year.

Slavery in the United States Form of slave labor which existed as a legal institution from the early years of the United States

Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel enslavement, primarily of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Slavery had been practiced in British America from early colonial days, and was legal in all Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It lasted in about half the states until 1865, when it was prohibited nationally by the Thirteenth Amendment. As an economic system, slavery was largely replaced by sharecropping.

Public holidays in the United States Wikimedia list article

The schedule of public holidays in the United States is largely influenced by the schedule of federal holidays but is controlled by private sector employers who employ 62% of the total US population with paid time off. A typical work week has historically been 40 hours a week with a Saturday–Sunday weekend, although many professionals are currently expected to work 50 hours a week for fixed salary.

Slave states and free states division of U.S. states in which slavery was either legal or illegal

In the history of the United States, a slave state was a U.S. state in which the practice of slavery was legal, and a free state was one in which slavery was prohibited or being legally phased out. Historically, in the 17th century, slavery was established in a number of English overseas possessions. In the 18th century, it existed in all the British colonies of North America. In 1776, slavery was legal throughout the Thirteen Colonies; starting with Pennsylvania in 1780, about half the states abolished slavery during the Revolutionary War or in the first decades of the new country. Slavery became a divisive issue; it was a major issue during the writing of the U.S. Constitution, and slavery was the primary cause of the American Civil War. The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in December 1865, abolished slavery throughout all of the United States.

Emancipation Day holiday to celebrate emancipation of enslaved people

Emancipation Day is observed in many former European colonies in the Caribbean and areas of the United States on various dates to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people of African descent.

Pinkster

Pinkster is a spring festival, taking place in late May or early June. The name is a variation of the Dutch word Pinksteren, meaning "Pentecost". Pinkster in English almost always refers to the festivals held by African Americans in the Northeastern United States, particularly in the early 19th century. To the Dutch, Pinkster was a religious holiday, a chance to rest, gather and celebrate religious services like baptisms and confirmations. For their African slaves, Pinkster was a time free from work and a chance to gather and catch up with family and friends.

Black Seminoles ethnic group

The Black Seminoles are black Indians associated with the Seminole people in Florida and Oklahoma. They are mostly blood descendants of the Seminole tribe, free blacks and of escaped slaves who allied with Seminole groups in Spanish Florida. Many have Seminole lineage, but due to the stigma of having dark skin, they all have been categorized as slaves or freedmen. Historically, the Black Seminoles lived mostly in distinct bands near the Native American Seminole. Some were held as so-called slaves of particular Seminole leaders; but they had more freedom than did slaves held by whites in the South and by other Native American tribes, including the right to bear arms.

Native American Day is a holiday in the U.S. states of California and Nevada celebrated annually on the fourth Friday of September, as well as in South Dakota on the second Monday in October in lieu of Columbus Day. It honors Native American cultures and contributions to their respective states and the United States. The state of Tennessee observes a similar American Indian Day each year on the fourth Monday of September.

National Freedom Day is a United States observance on February 1 honoring the signing by Abraham Lincoln of a joint House and Senate resolution that later became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. President Lincoln signed the Amendment outlawing slavery on February 1, 1865, although it was not ratified by the states until later.

George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center

The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center is a museum and cultural center in east Austin, Texas, housed in the former George Washington Carver branch of the Austin Public Library. Named in honor of George Washington Carver, the facility has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2005.

The history of slavery in Texas, as a colonial territory, later Republic in 1836, and U.S. state in 1845, had begun slowly, as the Spanish did not rely on it for labor during their years in Spanish Texas. The use of slavery expanded in the mid-nineteenth century as British-American settlers primarily from the Southeastern United States crossed the Mississippi River and brought slaves with them. Slavery was present in Spanish America and Mexico prior to the arrival of American settlers, but it was not highly developed.

JFest is an annual festival held in Gainesville, Florida that celebrates the Juneteenth holiday. It is also a juried art show, and has musical performances, a Youth Talent Showcase, and a carnival.

Ashton Villa building in Texas, United States

Ashton Villa is a fully restored, historic home located on the corner of 24th and Broadway in Galveston, Texas, United States. Constructed in 1859, it was one of the first brick structures in Texas.

140th Year Anniversary Celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation

The 140th Anniversary Celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation was a national campaign to honor, celebrate, and commemorate January 1, 2003, as the 140th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, by United States President Abraham Lincoln.

District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act Law that ended slavery in the District of Columbia

An Act for the Release of certain Persons held to Service or Labor within the District of Columbia, 37th Cong., Sess. 2, ch. 54, 12 Stat. 376, known colloquially as the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act or simply Compensated Emancipation Act, was a law that ended slavery in Washington, D.C. by paying slave owners for releasing their slaves. Although not written by him, the act was signed by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on April 16, 1862. April 16 is now celebrated in the city as Emancipation Day.

African Americans formed a unique ethnic identity in Texas while facing the problems of societal and institutional discrimination as well as colorism for many years. The first person of African heritage to arrive in Texas was Estevanico, who came to Texas in 1528.

The African American population in San Antonio has been a significant part of the city’s community since its founding. African Americans have been a part of the Greater San Antonio’s history since the 1850s.

References

  1. "Juneteenth Celebrated in Coachella". Black Voice News. June 22, 2011. Archived from the original on January 22, 2012.
  2. "Juneteenth". Merriam Webster Dictionary. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  3. "National Observance of Juneteenth is Still a Struggle" . Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  4. Taylor, 2002. pp. 28–29.
  5. "How to Celebrate". Juneteenth.com. Retrieved June 19, 2014.[ self-published source ]
  6. "Mascogos. Siempre listos para partir". El Universal (in Spanish). September 19, 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2017. Sin embargo, la fiesta de la comunidad es el 19 de junio – el Juneteenth Day en Estados Unidos – el día que los esclavos de Galveston, Texas, supieron que eran libres.
  7. 1 2 3 Cruz, Gilbert (June 18, 2008). "A Brief History of Juneteenth". Time magazine. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. "What Is Juneteenth?". The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. PBS. Originally posted on The Root. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  9. 1 2 Barr (1996), p. 24.
  10. The Texas Republican (Marshall), April 28, 1865, p. 2, contains a reference to the surrender
  11. 1 2 3 "Juneteenth". Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Retrieved July 6, 2006.
  12. Campbell, Randolph (1984). "The End of Slavery in Texas: A Research Note". Southwestern Historical Quarterly. 88 (1): 71–80.
  13. Adams, Luther (November 29, 2010). Way Up North in Louisville: African American Migration in the Urban South, 1930–1970. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN   978-0807899434.
  14. Wilkerson, Isabel (2010). The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration. New York: Random House. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  15. Chandler, D.L. (June 19, 2012). "Juneteenth: Celebrating The Early Moments Of Freedom Today". News One. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  16. 1 2 Moskin, Julie (June 18, 2004). "An Obscure Texas Celebration Makes Its Way Across the U.S." The New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  17. "The World Celebrates Freedom". Juneteenth.com. Retrieved June 19, 2006.
  18. Ho, Rodney (October 25, 2016). "FX's 'Atlanta' recap ('Juneteenth'): season 1, episode 9". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  19. Framke, Caroline (October 4, 2017). "Black-ish's musical episode about Juneteenth is a pointed lesson on American ignorance". Vox. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  20. "I Am A Slave". YouTube. ABC News. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  21. "We Built This". YouTube. ABC Television Network. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  22. Butler, Berhonie (October 4, 2017). "'Blackish' gives a powerful history lesson – with nods to 'Hamilton' and 'Schoolhouse Rock'". Washington Post. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  23. Dingus, Anne (June 2001). "Once a Texas-only holiday marking the end of slavery, Juneteenth is now celebrated nationwide with high spirits and hot barbecue". Texas Monthly . Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  24. "Maryland" . Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  25. Brown, Stacy M. (May 30, 2014). "Juneteenth officially recognized in Maryland". Baltimore Times. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  26. "New Hampshire governor recognizes Juneteenth day". The Seattle Times. June 19, 2018. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  27. "S.Res.175 – A resolution observing Juneteenth Independence Day, June 19, 1865, the day on which slavery finally came to an end in the United States". United States Congress. June 19, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  28. Ciaccia, Chris (February 16, 2018). "Apple's iCal calendar mysteriously deletes Easter". Fox News.


Bibliography