DENVER, CO – June 19 will be celebrated as an official federal holiday for the first time in 2021. President Joe Biden signed a bill on Thursday afternoon making June 12 the 12th federal holiday and the first new law added to the national calendar since Martin Luther King, Jr.Day 1983.
Held annually on June 19, Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States and the date in 1865 when many Texas slaves finally found out they were free. Slavery in America stretched back 246 years to 1619.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, according to Juneteenth.com. It is “a day, a week, and in some areas a month of celebrations, guest speakers, picnics, and family reunions”. In recent years Juneteenth has “commemorated African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement”.
Metro Denver Events:
Juniteenth Parade – 11.00 a.m. on Saturday, June 19:
Thousands of people march annually in one of Denver’s longest parades, which began in the 1950s. The parade begins at Manual High School, 26th Avenue on Williams St. and continues along 26th to Welton Street.
Two day street festival – Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sunday:
Head to the historic Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theater for live panels (with admission), food, drinks, and a Juneteenth Pop-Up Museum. Get your tickets here.
>> Find out more about local juneteenth events in Denver here.
Juneteenth is held on June 19 because that day in 1865 Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War was over and all slaves were free. Many of the slaves in Texas were unaware of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had actually given them freedom more than two years earlier.
Granger read “General Order No. 3, “which stated,” Informing the people of Texas that all slaves are free according to a proclamation by the United States executive branch. This implies an absolute equality of personal rights and property rights between former masters and slaves, “according to the city of Galveston, which has a historical marker for its association with the holiday.
Henry Louis Gates Jr., a Harvard University professor and African American historian, wrote in The Root magazine that the juneteenth “is an opportunity to gather lost family members, measure progress against freedom, and advance generations to the values of self-importance and to teach the racial resurrection ”. . “
Texas was the first state to recognize Juneteenth in 1980. Almost everyone else has followed in the 40+ years since then.
Hawaii, North Dakota and South Dakota are the only states that haven’t already recognized the Juneteenth, the Press-Herald reported, citing the Congressional Research Service, as Maine became one of the youngest states to become a paid state holiday this year declared.
Also on Patch: What is Juneteenth? 5 things you should know about the holiday that marks the end of slavery
The movement to make it a national holiday dates back to before the Biden government. In 2018, the US Senate passed a resolution declaring June 19 to be “Juneteenth Independence Day”, which was not achieved in the House of Representatives this year.
Some big American brands – including Twitter, Nike, and the National Football League – have made Juneteenth a paid company vacation.