(Washington, DC) - Leaders of the Campaign to Establish Juneteenth as a National Holiday Observance will return to the nation's capitol for the annual WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance hopeful that congress will enact legislation to commemorate Juneteenth National Freedom Day, officially marking the "19th of June" on all calendars as America's 2nd Independence Day.
Juneteenth, or the "19th of June", recognizes June 19, 1865, in Galveston, TX, when Union General Gordon Granger announced freedom for all slaves in the Southwest. This was the last major vestige of slavery in the United States following the end of the Civil War. This occurred more than two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln. Upon the reading of General Order #3 by General Granger, the former slaves celebrated jubilantly, establishing America's second Independence Day Celebration and the oldest African American holiday observance.
Juneteenth is now recognized as a state holiday or state holiday observance in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Delaware, Idaho, Alaska, Iowa, California, Wyoming, Missouri, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Colorado, Arkansas, Oregon, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Virginia, Washington, Tennessee, Massachusetts, North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina, Vermont, Nebraska, Kansas and Wisconsin. In 2003, the District of Columbia passed legislation to recognize Juneteenth as a district holiday observance. Many more states, including Utah, Alabama, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Montana, and Maryland have recognized Juneteenth through state legislative resolutions and Gubernatorial Proclamations.
"The official recognition of Juneteenth Independence Day and the end of slavery by state governments and congress are very significant steps in bringing healing to America from the legacy of enslavement," states Rev. Dr. Myers, also Founder and Chairman of the National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC) , sponsors of the National Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement and the National Juneteenth Black Holocaust "MAAFA" Memorial Service in Washington, DC. "As the descendants of Americans of African descent, our ancestors were brought to America in chains. This should never be forgotten."
"The National Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement, takes place annually on the "3rd Friday of June", during the week of the observance of Juneteenth in America," states Rev. Dr. Myers. "The day was established in recognition of former Congressman Tony Hall's historic efforts to pass a congressional apology for slavery on the "19th of June", 2000,Juneteenth Independence Day. The apology for slavery has always been an essential part of our plans to bring reconciliation and healing from the legacy of enslavement in America trough the "Modern Juneteenth Movement."
Continuing to work toward the passage of legislation for a Congressional Apology For Slavery, ratified by both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and perhaps the introduction of a bill that will eventually be signed by President Barack Obama, Juneteenth leaders continue to stress the importance of making any such legislation a part of the annual National Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement", where it all began during WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH 2000.
"The annual observance of Juneteenth provides America with the greatest opportunity to bring about a constructive resolution to the history of the brutal enslavement of Americans of African descent and the racial conflicts that plague the nation," continues Dr. Myers.
Dr. Myers, who was appointed National Advisory Chairman of America's Black Holocaust Museum by the museum's founder, the late Dr. James Cameron, a lynching survivor, was encouraged by the Senate Apology For Lynching passed in his honor during the week of Juneteenth in 2005. In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation for an Apology For Slavery and Jim Crow, sponsored by Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN). In 2009, the U.S. Senate passed similiar legislation sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA).
"Dr. Cameron taught me the importance of forgiveness, patience and reconciliation by his remarkable life," states Dr. Myers. "It lead to a U.S. Senate Apology For Lynching. Congress continues to demonstrate sensitivity to issues surrounding the legacy of enslavement in America."
Source: http://www.nationaljuneteenth.com : National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign, Dr. Myers
JUNETEENTH. On June 19 ("Juneteenth"), 1865, Union general Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and issued General Order Number 3, which read in part, "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." The tidings of freedom reached the approximately 250,000 slaves in Texas gradually as individual plantation owners informed their bondsmen over the months following the end of the war. The news elicited an array of personal celebrations, some of which have been described in The Slave Narratives of Texas (1974). The first broader celebrations of Juneteenth were used as political rallies and to teach freed African American about their voting rights. Within a short time, however, Juneteenth was marked by festivities throughout the state, some of which were organized by official Juneteenth committees.
The day has been celebrated through formal thanksgiving ceremonies at which the hymn "Lift Every Voice" furnished the opening. In addition, public entertainment, picnics, and family reunions have often featured dramatic readings, pageants, parades, barbecues, and ball games. Blues festivals have also shaped the Juneteenth remembrance. In Limestone County, celebrants gather for a three-day reunion organized by the Nineteenth of June Organization. Some of the early emancipation festivities were relegated by city authorities to a town's outskirts; in time, however, black groups collected funds to purchase tracts of land for their celebrations, including Juneteenth. A common name for these sites was Emancipation Park. In Houston, for instance, a deed for a ten-acre site was signed in 1872, and in Austin the Travis County Emancipation Celebration Association acquired land for its Emancipation Park in the early 1900s; the Juneteenth event was later moved to Rosewood Park. In Limestone County the Nineteenth of June Association acquired thirty acres, which has since been reduced to twenty acres by the rising of Lake Mexia. Particular celebrations of Juneteenth have had unique beginnings or aspects. In the state capital Juneteenth was first celebrated in 1867 under the direction of the Freedmen's Bureau and became part of the calendar of public events by 1872. Juneteenth in Limestone County has gathered "thousands" to be with families and friends. At one time 30,000 blacks gathered at Booker T. Washington Park, known more popularly as Comanche Crossing, for the event. One of the most important parts of the Limestone celebration is the recollection of family history, both under slavery and since. Another of the state's memorable celebrations of Juneteenth occurred in Brenham, where large, racially mixed crowds witness the annual promenade through town. In Beeville, black, white, and brown residents have also joined together to commemorate the day with barbecue, picnics, and other festivities.
Juneteenth declined in popularity in the early 1960s, when the civil-rights movement, with its push for integration, diminished interest in the event. In the 1970s African Americans' renewed interest in celebrating their cultural heritage led to the revitalization of the holiday throughout the state. At the end of the decade Representative Al Edwards, a Democrat from Houston, introduced a bill calling for Juneteenth to become a state holiday. The legislature passed the act in 1979, and Governor William P. Clements, Jr., signed it into law. The first state-sponsored Juneteenth celebration took place in 1980. Juneteenth has also had an impact outside the state. Black Texans who moved to Louisiana and Oklahoma have taken the celebration with them. In 1991 the Anacostia Museum of the Smithsonian Institution sponsored "Juneteenth '91, Freedom Revisited," featuring public speeches, African-American arts and crafts, and other cultural programs. There, as in Texas, the state of its origin, Juneteenth has provided the public the opportunity to recall the milestone in human rights the day represents for African Americans.
Source: https://www.tshaonline.org : http://nbjuneteenthfest.com
In June, 2005, JUNETEENTH.com launched an historic advocacy campaign to recognize and raise awareness for the 150th Anniversary of Juneteenth that will be celebrated in the year 2015. The campaign aims to increase knowledge and appreciation of the roles, achievements and contributions of African Americans to our society, and pay tribute to an ancestral heritage upon whose shoulders many stand. The campaign, centers around assessment, goals, education, dialogue, responsibility, acknowledgement - and celebrates African American progress since 1865. Campaign Outputs in print will include; booklets, brochures, posters and the most highly anticipated, 150th Juneteenth Anniversary Year Book©. Digital outputs will include an electronic informational campaign, multimedia products including, audio/video cd's and dvd's, along with a comprehensive Web based presentation hub. People of all races, creeds and ethnicity have contributed to the price of freedom, and with the greatest honor, this campaign acknowledges these contributions. We invite and encourage everyone to join with us in the planning, development and celebration of this historic campaign. Ideas and support continue to flow in and are instrumental in shaping the campaign and the 150th Anniversary Celebration. Please join us on this historical journey. Sign up with the form below, through which you can become an active partner in building and shaping this campaign. Source: http://juneteenth.com