The holiday received its name by combining June and 19. The day is also sometimes called “Juneteenth Independence Day,” “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day.” Some call it “America’s Second Independence Day.”
The original celebration became an annual one, and it grew in popularity over the years with the addition of descendants, according to Juneteenth.com, which tracks celebrations. The day was celebrated by praying and bringing families together. In some celebrations on this day, men and women who had been enslaved, and their descendants, made an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston.
Celebrations reached new heights in 1872, when a group of African-American ministers and businessmen in Houston purchased 10 acres of land and created Emancipation Park. The space was intended to hold the city’s annual Juneteenth celebration.
Today, while some celebrations take place among families in backyards where food is an integral element, some cities, like Atlanta and Washington, hold larger events, like parades and festivals with residents, local businesses and more.
Juneteenth needs to be taught in schools, and listed appropriately in history books, at all levels. And it stands on its own, certainly not needing Orange man to move his virus filled rally to another date!
My only direct experience in Juneteenth came back in the 80s, when I participated in a fund-raising tennis tournament to promote Juneteenth in the Bay Area. One of the honorees and competitors
was former Mayor of Oakland, Lionel Wilson, owner of a pretty decent backhand. Arthur Ashe would have been pleased!