WATCH LIVE

Special coverage following President Joe Biden's decision to exit the 2024 presidential race. Live now on News 12 and streaming on News 12 New York

What is Juneteenth? 5 things to know about the longest-running African American holiday

Juneteenth, a combination of "June" and "nineteenth," is considered the longest-running African American holiday. Here's what you need to know about the date.

News 12 Staff

Jun 19, 2023, 8:30 AM

Updated 398 days ago

Share:

What is Juneteenth? 5 things to know about the longest-running African American holiday
Juneteenth, a combination of "June" and "nineteenth," is considered the longest-running African American holiday. It commemorates the date when hundreds of thousands of enslaved men and women in Texas finally learned they had been freed in 1865.
Below is what you need to know about the date:

1. What is Juneteenth?

June 19, 1865 marks the day when it was announced that slaves were freed in Galveston, Texas, following the end of the Civil War. However, that announcement came more than two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday.

2. Is Juneteenth a federal holiday?

In 2021, Congress voted to make Juneteenth the 12th federal holiday. Before the vote, it was already a state holiday in New York and New Jersey.

3. Why has Juneteenth become so important?

In 2020, there was a renewed interest in the day that celebrates freedom, following nationwide protests over police brutality and the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black Americans.

4. What is the historical significance of Juneteenth?

Kelly E. Navies, oral historian for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, talks about the history and significance of Juneteenth in the video below. She also shares her family's tradition of celebrating the holiday.

5. How is Juneteenth celebrated?

Juneteenth is celebrated across the country with street fairs, parades, and concerts. National Juneteenth Observance Foundation President Steve Williams also encourages readings of the Emancipation Proclamation.


More from News 12
1:33
President Biden announces end of 2024 bid for presidency; endorses VP Kamala Harris for pick

President Biden announces end of 2024 bid for presidency; endorses VP Kamala Harris for pick

1:59
Sun, clouds and a possible stray shower in New Jersey

Sun, clouds and a possible stray shower in New Jersey

Officials release statements following President Biden's decision to end reelection bid

Officials release statements following President Biden's decision to end reelection bid

1:00
NJ Democratic lawmakers thank President Biden for his service in wake decision to step down

NJ Democratic lawmakers thank President Biden for his service in wake decision to step down

1:49
Some NJ voters weren't surprised Biden chose to end reelection bid

Some NJ voters weren't surprised Biden chose to end reelection bid

0:56
Belleville church hosts blood drive to combat shortage over summer

Belleville church hosts blood drive to combat shortage over summer

1:01
Edison High School assistant principal accused of making threats to Muslim students

Edison High School assistant principal accused of making threats to Muslim students

0:17
Police: Stratford man killed in motorcycle crash near Tinton Falls

Police: Stratford man killed in motorcycle crash near Tinton Falls

0:27
Delta: Unaccompanied minor travel paused following global technology outage

Delta: Unaccompanied minor travel paused following global technology outage

0:34
Over 1,600 U.S. flights canceled Saturday due to global technology outage

Over 1,600 U.S. flights canceled Saturday due to global technology outage

0:19
Police: 4 people injured in East Windsor crash

Police: 4 people injured in East Windsor crash

1:30
Officials: Calls to 988 have increased since its creation 2 years ago

Officials: Calls to 988 have increased since its creation 2 years ago

1:59
Flight disruptions persist at Newark Liberty Int’l Airport due to global technology outage

Flight disruptions persist at Newark Liberty Int’l Airport due to global technology outage

1:49
Toms River firefighters headed to national competition

Toms River firefighters headed to national competition

0:17
Police: Man fatally shot inside car in Clifton

Police: Man fatally shot inside car in Clifton

0:29
Fire leaves several residents in Lakewood displaced

Fire leaves several residents in Lakewood displaced

0:26
Police: Egg Harbor Township man accused of fatally striking bicyclist while driving drunk

Police: Egg Harbor Township man accused of fatally striking bicyclist while driving drunk

1:41
 Officials: COVID-19 has hit high levels in several states, including Connecticut

Officials: COVID-19 has hit high levels in several states, including Connecticut

1:41
 Officials: COVID-19 has hit high levels in several states, including Connecticut

Officials: COVID-19 has hit high levels in several states, including Connecticut

0:27
Prosecutor: Jackson Township man accused of fatally stabbing roommate

Prosecutor: Jackson Township man accused of fatally stabbing roommate