Juneteenth – a blending of the words June and nineteenth – is the oldest known U.S. celebration of the end of slavery. It commemorates June 19th, 1865, the day that Union Major General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and told slaves of their emancipation from slavery.
Juneteenth is also known as Black Independence Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, or Juneteenth National Freedom Day. In 1980, Texas was the first state to make Juneteenth a state holiday, although it had been celebrated informally since 1865. (The National Registry of Juneteenth Organizations and Supporters provides an in-depth History of Juneteenth. Click here for additional information)
Over the years, congressional representatives have introduced multiple bills to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, unsuccessfully thus far, but many universities and private companies have joined state governments in recognizing Juneteenth as an official holiday. Most recently, the NFL declared Juneteenth a league holiday, following companies like Nike and Twitter.
In recognition of this historic date and all that is means to our Black brothers and sisters, and in solidarity with those seeking to make Juneteenth a national holiday, we declare June 19th as an official Cinnaire holiday.
On this day of Juneteenth, let us learn and understand our history, and get to work making the promise of emancipation a reality.