Juneteenth Worldwide Celebration
Late to Freedom's Party, Texans Spread Word of Black Holiday
Dishing Up Juneteenth
Letter to President Obama
Washington Juneteenth 2009 Calendar of Events
The Handbook of Texas Online: Juneteenth
Today marks the 144th anniversary of the original Juneteenth on June 19th, 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger and federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to enforce the abolition of slavery. The move, however, was made nearly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was enacted, making Texas one of the last states to free its slaves. Until recently, Juneteenth was primarily celebrated in Texas, where it has been a state holiday since 1980. However, the last decade has seen an increase in the number of communities celebrating Juneteenth. In May, Kansas became the most recent state to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday, joining 30 others, and a movement to have the holiday recognized nationally has gained prominence. Juneteenth is traditionally celebrated as an outdoor potluck or barbeque with family, friends, and neighbors (don't forget the strawberry soda!) and larger communities will often sponsor citywide celebrations including public readings, speakers, and other events. Described in the above New York Times article from 2004 as "Martin Luther King's Birthday without the grieving," the celebrations commemorate African American freedom, and increasingly, that freedom is celebrated by Americans from all walks of life. And this year, the holiday has taken on an even more poignant aspect; if you look at local and regional newspapers across the country, you'll see that President Obama is a very sought-after attendee for each Juneteenth celebration.
The first link will take visitors to some basic information about Juneteenth, its origins and celebrations, how others around the world celebrate, and how to get a Celebrate Juneteenth yard sign to bring the tradition to each neighborhood. The second article, by Julia Moskin of the New York Times, details the traditions of Juneteenth and how the popularity of the holiday is growing to include an increasingly diverse group of revelers. The third link is to A Mighty Appetite, Kim O'Donnel's Washington Post food blog, "your daily online bread." In this article, O'Donnel details a recipe for red rice that she believes merges American and African traditions to "tell the many stories of slavery." The fifth document is an open letter to President Obama from January of this year, requesting a presidential proclamation that Juneteenth be declared a national holiday. This request comes from Chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation Rev. Ronald V. Myers Sr., and granting this request, in his words, would be "instrumental in bringing all Americans together in a spirit of unity and reconciliation." The sixth link takes visitors to the calendar page of the Washington D.C. Juneteenth 2009 celebration page, where they can find out about all the events of the weekend, including a 3K run, a prayer breakfast, and a memorial service. The last link, from the Handbook of Texas Online, ties the holiday to statewide traditions and how it has been celebrated in various Texas communities.