Juneteenth brings with it a significant historical and cultural significance. As a hospice that values the diversity and the stories of our community, it’s important to recognize and honor this historic day. Read on to learn about the history of Juneteenth and ways you and your family can celebrate this important federal holiday.

The History
The significance of Juneteenth dates back to June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger delivered General Order No. 3 to the people of Galveston, Texas. This order announced the end of slavery in the state, marking the liberation of thousands who had been enslaved. The resonance of this momentous occasion, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, holds a profound place in American history.

Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved individuals in the United States following the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. It is a day to acknowledge the struggle for freedom and recognize the enduring legacy of those who fought for it.

The Recognition
The recognition of Juneteenth has evolved since its inception. Texas was the first state to acknowledge Juneteenth in 1980, with various states and the District of Columbia following suit. In 2021, the day reached a new milestone when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Act into law, establishing June 19 as a federal holiday. This formal recognition pays tribute to the past and stands as a symbol of hope and progress for the future.

Juneteenth celebrations are infused with cultural traditions, including gatherings, parades, family reunions, and historical reenactments. Commemorative events such as these highlight the resilience and strength of the African American community and serve as a testament to the pursuit of equality and justice.

Here are a few suggestions you and your family can enjoy:

  1. Host a Juneteenth-themed movie night featuring a film that highlights Black history or culture.
  2. Plan a community cookout with traditional Juneteenth foods like barbecue, red velvet cake, and watermelon.
  3. Organize a Juneteenth talent show where residents and families can showcase their talents and celebrate their culture.
  4. Create a Juneteenth art exhibit featuring pieces by local Black artists.
  5. Host a historical scavenger hunt, where participants can learn more about the significance of Juneteenth and Black history in their community.
  6. Plan a visit to a nearby museum or historical site celebrating Black history and culture.
  7. Organize a poetry reading featuring works by Black poets and encourage attendees to share their own verses.
  8. Host a Juneteenth dance party featuring music from Black artists past and present.
  9. Invite a local storyteller to share their family’s history and connection to Juneteenth.
  10. Conduct a candle ceremony to honor the memory of those who have fought for the freedom we celebrate today.

We hope these ideas help you and your loved ones celebrate Juneteenth meaningfully and honorably. Remember, Juneteenth is about coming together as a community, honoring our shared history, and celebrating our progress toward a more just and equitable society. 

As a hospice, we understand the importance of honoring these historical milestones. Juneteenth serves as a moment of reflection, education, and unity, and we stand in solidarity with our community in recognizing and celebrating this pivotal day.

On Juneteenth this year, we encourage everyone to take a moment to reflect on the significance of this occasion, listen to stories of resilience and triumph, and commemorate the enduring pursuit of freedom and equality for all.

May this Juneteenth be a time of remembrance, celebration, and a reaffirmation of our commitment to promoting inclusion, understanding, and compassion.

Need help? Contact us at (405) 418-2659.