What is Juneteenth and Why Does it Matter in the UK?
On June 17th, 2021, President Joe Biden signed a law to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. But what is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth takes place each year on the 19th of June to mark the day the last slaves in America were freed. In 1865, Major General Granger of the Union Army landed in Galveston, Texas to free the slaves of Texas. It is important to note that these slaves were told two years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after the president's assassination. There are many theories as to why it took so long for news of abolition to reach Texas, the most likely being that slave owners intentionally withheld information. Despite their efforts, word spread throughout the state and the freed Blacks of America began to celebrate their freedom.
Why Does it Matter in the UK?
Although there are many other celebration days for the emancipation of slaves, Juneteenth is the largest and is even recognised in countries like Britain. British fashion brand Sophia Webster and many other companies have pledged to donate 19% of their daily sales to Black causes on June 19th each year. But that isn't the only reason to celebrate Juneteenth.
Juneteenth is an opportunity to reflect on the past, see how far African-Americans have come, and how far they still need to go for equality. It's a day for celebrating, but also a day for confronting injustices that have plagued Blacks throughout the globe.
So do you think the UK should celebrate Juneteenth? Comment below and tell us what you think.