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5 Facts: Juneteenth

"Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory, or an acceptance of the way things are. It's a celebration of progress. It's an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible, and there is still so much work to do." – Former President Barack Obama

Here at Mending Families, we join the communities in which we serve by celebrating independence, equity, and diversity. We recognize that the bravery and sacrifices of those before us have created the vast opportunities for all people of color within our great nation.

Here are some quick facts about the holiday:

  1. While Juneteenth became a Texas state holiday in 1980 and has been celebrated by Black communities across the United States for years, it wasn't until 2021 that it became a national holiday.

  2. A combination of "June" and "nineteenth," Juneteenth is the yearly celebration of the abolishment of slavery in the United States. It has been celebrated under many names like Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Cel-Liberation Day, Second Independence Day, and Emancipation Day to name just a few.

  3. The Civil War ended in the summer of 1865. Union General Gordon Granger and his troops traveled to Galveston, Texas to announce General Orders No. 3 on June 19, 1865. June 19th would go on to be known and celebrated as Juneteenth.  General Orders No. 3  stated: “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."

  4. During the early 20th-century Juneteenth celebrations declined. The enactment of Jim Crow laws dampened the celebration of freedom. In addition, the Great Depression forced many black farming families away from rural areas and into urban environments to seek work— resulting in difficulty taking the day off to celebrate. However, the celebration of Juneteenth was revived during the civil rights movement. The Poor People's March planned by Martin Luther King Jr. was purposely scheduled to coincide with the date. March participants took the celebrations back to their home states and soon the holiday was reborn.

  5. Juneteenth means different things to Black families across the U.S., which has inspired a diversity of traditions and celebrations. While some Black families enjoy large events, others honor the day with something more intimate.

How do you celebrate this day?

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