What is Juneteenth?

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Juneteenth is now a federal holiday, the first new one in 38 years. Want to know more about Juneteenth?  Join an elevated conversation about ‘The Journey to Juneteenth” on June 17, details below. 

“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.” —General Orders, Number 3; Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston, June 19, 1865

These words issued by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, era, according to historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., helped establish the basis for “Juneteenth” (“June” plus “nineteenth”), the most popular annual celebration of emancipation from slavery in the U.S., observed in Black communities for 155 years prior to becoming an official United States Federal Holiday in 2021.

Want to learn more? Here are some resources:

BBC News – Juneteenth: What is the newest US holiday and how is it celebrated?

CNN – ‘Grandmother of Juneteenth’ celebrates federal holiday — but there is more work to do. Here’s how you can help

Join a Special Event

Building on its 2021 Journey to Juneteenth event, AARP California is hosting a second conversation with Dr. Thanayi Cross Jackson in celebration of the national holiday. Join AARP California and attendees from across the U.S. for a FREE virtual event on June 17 at 3:00 p.m. ET | 2:00 p.m. CT | 1:00 p.m. MT | 12:00 p.m. PT – AARP membership not required. Register here.

Photo:  An Emancipation Day celebration band, June 19, 1900; courtesy of the University of North Texas Libraries, Wikimedia Commons.

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