What is Juneteenth?


  • In 2021, US President signed a law to commemorate June 19 or Juneteenth as a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery after the American civil war (1861-65).

  • But so far, only 18 US states have passed laws to make funds available to make it a paid state holiday.

What is Juneteenth?

  • Juneteenth– the portmanteau of June and nineteenth– is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the US, observed on June 19 every year. It is also known as Emancipation Day or Juneteenth Independence Day.
  • On January 1, 1863, then-president Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that “all persons held as slaves” within the states in rebellion “are, and henceforward shall be free.”

What is its significance?

  • Since Granger’s announcement, Juneteenth has become a largely symbolic date representing freedom for African Americans.

What happened after Biden signed the federal law?

  • All 50 US states have proclamations in place to recognise and celebrate Juneteenth. But it is not a universal American holiday just yet. Texas was the first state to make it a paid holiday in 1980.
  • Eight other states had done the same even before Biden signed the federal law in 2021. In 2022, nine more states joined the list making a total 18 US states that now give a paid holiday on the day to all state employees.



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