Juneteenth History

Emancipation Day celebration, June 19, 1900 held in “East Woods” on East 24th Street in Austin.
Credit: Austin History Center & nmaahc.si.edu

Celebrating Juneteenth: A Guide for Milwaukee Area Families

Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, is a significant holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Originating in Texas, Juneteenth has been a cherished celebration for African Americans since the late 1800s.

Historical Background

On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, with a momentous announcement: all enslaved people in Texas were free. This declaration came over two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect on January 1, 1863. The delay was primarily due to Texas’s remote location and the presence of a significant number of Confederate troops determined to maintain slavery.

The news of freedom was met with joyous celebrations among African Americans in Texas. The first Juneteenth celebration occurred on June 19, 1866, featuring parades, speeches, and various festivities. As African Americans migrated from Texas to other parts of the country, they carried the tradition of Juneteenth with them, establishing it as a vital part of African American culture nationwide.

Evolution and Recognition

The Civil Rights Movement of the 20th century brought renewed attention to Juneteenth. During the 1960s and 1970s, African Americans embraced the holiday as a way to affirm their identity and honor the struggles and sacrifices of their ancestors. In 1980, Texas declared Juneteenth an official state holiday, and many other states have since followed suit.

Today, Juneteenth is recognized in most states and is celebrated as a day of remembrance, reflection, and joy. It honors the legacy of slavery and the ongoing struggle for freedom, celebrates African American culture and heritage, and highlights the continuous fight for racial justice and equality.

Juneteenth in Milwaukee

In Milwaukee, Juneteenth is marked by a variety of events that showcase the rich culture and heritage of the African American community. The city hosts parades, festivals with live music, dance performances, and delicious cuisine, as well as educational workshops and historical exhibitions. Juneteenth in Milwaukee is a time for unity, reflection, and a renewed commitment to equality and justice.

At Kid-Tastic Child Care, we encourage families to join in these celebrations, learn about the historical significance of Juneteenth, and participate in activities that honor this important day. It is a time for people of all backgrounds to come together, celebrate freedom, and work towards building a more inclusive and equitable society.

Let’s make this Juneteenth a day of learning, celebration, and commitment to a brighter future for all!

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