On 19 June 1865, the last group of slaves in the United States were freed. 155 years later, many are calling to make the date a national holiday in the country.
With the Black Lives Matter movement gaining momentum following the murders of George Floyd and Breanna Taylor, the result of police brutality, more and more people are becoming aware of Black history both within their own country and across the world – and for the first time they are learning about Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day.
What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth commemorates the day when slaves in Texas were finally given freedom under the orders of Union General, Gordon Granger, more than two years after the rest of the United States. At the time, the state was not abiding by President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, and many of those who were enslaved were unaware that they were, in fact, given freedom under the law.
Black communities have celebrated the day for 155 years, but only now we are seeing the awareness rise within the whole of society.
Creators are speaking out
Happy Juneteenth Fam ✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿! Celebrating the day when word finally reached Texas that African Americans were free from slavery! To celebrate this monumental day w/yall, I'll be streaming some Sims and we will be getting some Front Page action too! See you @ 4PM GMT (11AM EST)💛 pic.twitter.com/WAVSQANesT
— ° • °✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿 E B O N I X ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽° • ° (@EbonixSims) June 19, 2020
Giving a brief summary of the momentous occasion, Ebonix invited viewers to join her live stream on Friday evening, where she would be streaming Sims gameplay and celebrating the meaning behind Juneteenth.
Kandidly Kayla invited us to celebrate the day by shouting out small Black creators and urging viewers to suppose those whose voices had not yet been heard. Some of the creators she recommended include Jackie Aina, Raye Boyce and Arnell Armon, amongst others.
I am ashamed to say I didn't know about #Juneteenth until this year.
As a country, we have so much to do and it all begins by re-educating ourselves and embracing a history that is truly American.
— Hannah Hart (@harto) June 18, 2020
Hannah Hart echoed what many were feeling, when she admitted she felt “ashamed” to have only found out about Juneteenth this year. In her tweet, she urged others to educate themselves on Black history.
before i go to bed, it’s now Juneteenth, here are some facts about #Juneteenth that even I wasn’t even taught, take some time and read more about the full history here: https://t.co/cL2jORoSv2 https://t.co/7upvXHGgNH
— elijah daniel (@elijahdaniel) June 19, 2020
This lack of education on Black history has been mentioned across the internet as a key reason for Juneteenth becoming a more important and significant day than ever. Elijah Daniel shared an infographic, while NBC news reporter Maya Wiley highlighted the school system as a problem, due to the lack of in-school education about Black history seen not just in the United States, but across the world.
— Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) June 19, 2020
Gary Vaynerchuk reminded his followers that education and compassion are great starting points to understanding and supporting Juneteenth, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement.
This Juneteenth – a day commemorating the end of slavery in the US – @Bandcamp are giving 100% of their profits to @NAACP_LDF so I figured it was a good time to check out some new ska-punk bands/albums at your recommendation! pic.twitter.com/PVA4eBVOjb
— Thomas ‘TomSka’ Ridgewell (@thetomska) June 19, 2020
Thomas Ridgewell raised awareness of Bandcamp’s fundraising efforts for the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, which fights for racial justice through litigation, advocacy and public education. In recognition of Juneteenth, the music platform wa giving 100% of its profits to the fund.
happy juneteenth 🖤
— ALIYAH MARIA BEE (@aliyahmariabee) June 19, 2020
Aliyah Maria Bee kept her message short, yet powerful enough by ensuring the attention went on the day itself, whilst encouraging anyone who comes across her tweet to learn more about the day and its history.
Happy Juneteenth. Pay a Black person today. Support thier art. Buy their work. And then when the day ends, do it again tomorrow.
— simi (@simimoonlight) June 19, 2020
Simi Moonlight shared what we as a society can do to help raise up the voices and positions of Black people within our community. “Pay a Black person today. Support [their] art. Buy their world. And then when the day ends, do it again tomorrow,” she wrote.
Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory, or an acceptance of the way things are. It's a celebration of progress. It's an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible––and there is still so much work to do.https://t.co/5XCRdnk3iR
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 19, 2020
Lastly, President Barack Obama encouraged his followers to keep working toward change, highlighting that the day is not a celebration of victory. Rather, it is “a celebration of progress. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible”.
TenEighty encourages its readers to educate themselves on the history of Juneteenth and the symbolism of the day. Those wishing to learn more can do so via the Juneteenth website, as well as through this New York Times article.
Those wishing to learn how they can help further the Black Lives Matter movement can do so via this resource.