Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of the last remaining enslaved African Americans in the Confederacy.
The Emancipation Proclamation was placed into effect in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. However, the news did not reach Texas, the most remote Confederate state, until June 19, 1865. Major General Gordon Granger, a member of the Union Army, announced in Galveston, Texas that the Civil War had ended and that slavery had been abolished. According to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, more than 250,000 enslaved Black people received the news they were free by executive decree.1 Juneteenth has since served as a day of remembrance.
The commemoration of June 19, 1865 must be situated within a larger, extended process toward Constitutional inclusion of Black Americans. The passage of the 13th Amendment was preceded by incremental policy victories. On Sept. 22, 1862 President Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation Order. The Proclamation did not take effect until January 1, 1863. It wasn’t until January 31, 1865, that the 13th Amendment passed Congress, officially abolishing the institution of slavery. Ratification of the 13th Amendment came almost a year later on December 6, 1865.2
In 1980, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. Since then, 47 states recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday.3 We are proud to announce that, effective this year, Juneteenth is as a payroll holiday at The Little Market.
As we reflect on the significance of Juneteenth against the backdrop of ongoing efforts toward true racial equality, we must each reflect on how we can contribute to sustainable change. More than a remembrance, Juneteenth is a call-to-action to continue working toward achieving true racial justice and full inclusion of Black Americans into all spheres of society. The work toward reparation is yet to be completed.
As part of our nonprofit mission, The Little Market is committed to advocating for underserved and vulnerable communities across the globe, including here in the United States. We are dedicated to using our platform to shed light and social justice and inequality. Learn more here.
1 Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth. Accessed June 15, 2020.
2 What Is Juneteenth? PBS. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Accessed June 15, 2020.
3 What Is Juneteenth? History Stories. June 19, 2015. Updated June 15, 2020. Accessed June 15, 2020.
Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror. Third Edition. Equal Justice Initiative. Accessed June 16, 2020.
Slavery in America: The Montgomery Slave Trade. Equal Justice Initiative. Accessed June 16, 2020.