Americas

US celebrates Juneteenth anniversary recognizing end of slavery in America

‘We will not remain free if we don't understand what freedom is about,’ says Jacqueline Bostic of Houston

Darren Lyn   | 20.06.2022
US celebrates Juneteenth anniversary recognizing end of slavery in America


HOUSTON, Texas 

June 19th marks the second year in which the US is celebrating Juneteenth as a federal holiday recognizing the end of slavery in America.

President Joe Biden signed legislation last year making Juneteenth the newest national holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.

Celebrations were held throughout New York City for the holiday, which commemorates when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people two months after the Confederacy surrendered in the Civil War.

“Our ancestors blazed a path to freedom,” said New York City Council member Farah Louis. “I believe our presence here is proof of our progress.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said the celebration is yet another important way for society to recognize the importance of inclusion in America.

“We don't have to be in a state where if you're Jewish, you're attacked with anti-Semitism,” said Adams. “We don't have to be in a city where if you're from the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community and your mother, or father, or grandfather cannot leave home because people are attacking you for no reason at all.

“We don't have to be in a city where if you're a member of the LGBTQ+ community, people are assaulting you and attacking you just because of who you choose to be,” he added. “We don't have to be in a city where African Americans cannot move up in titles and rank just because of their ethnicity,” he added.

Celebrations were also held in Washington, D.C., where the nation’s capital celebrated Juneteenth, which acknowledged the freedom of slaves in states still engaged in rebellion against the Union two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln.

“Juneteenth gives us a time every year when we can come together as a community. And this is all people, all Americans,” said Kelly Navies with the National African American Museum of History and Culture.

“Learn about the history. Pass it on to the young people,” Navies continued. “Celebrate and honor people who have come before us. And look to the future, to push forward and continue to make progress.”

Juneteenth was celebrated at Emancipation Park Houston, just 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Galveston, where the liberation of 250,000 enslaved people in that Texas city took place on June 19, 1865.

“Don't forget about what emancipation means, because it's important in our lives,” said Jacqueline Bostic, the great-granddaughter of Jack Yates, who is dubbed the “Father of Black Houston.”​​​​​​​

“Don't forget about what freedom means, because it's important every day in our lives,” Bostic emphasized. “But we must remember that we will not remain free if we don't understand what freedom is about.”


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