NEWS

The Story Behind Juneteenth And How It Became A US Federal Holiday

On Monday, Americans will celebrate Juneteenth, marking the day when the last enslaved people in the United States learned they were free.

For generations, Black Americans have recognized the end of one of the darkest chapters in U.S. history with joy in the form of parades, street festivals, musical performances, or cookouts.

The U.S. government was slow to embrace the occasion — it was only in 2021 that President Joe Biden signed a bill passed by Congress to set aside Juneteenth, or June 19th, as a federal holiday.

And just as many people learn what Juneteenth is all about, the holiday’s traditions are facing new pressures — political rhetoric condemning efforts to teach Americans about the nation’s racial history, companies using the holiday as a marketing event, people partying without understanding why.

Here is a look at the origins of Juneteenth, how it became a federal holiday, and more about its history.

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Readers Bureau, Contributor

 Edited by Jesus Chan

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