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On June 19, 1865, about two months after the Confederate general, Robert E. Lee, surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, Gordon Granger, a Union general, in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved African-Americans of their freedom and that the Civil War had ended. General Granger’s announcement put into effect the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been issued more than two and a half years earlier on January 1, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln.
The holiday received its name by combining June and 19. The day is also sometimes called “Juneteenth Independence Day,” “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation 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.
On June 17, 2021, Juneteenth became the 11th holiday recognized by the federal government. The Senate, on June 15th, passed a bill to recognize the day, and the House approved the measure the next day. President Biden signed the bill into law the day after that, immediately giving federal employees the day off this year.
We, at the Vineyard want to always champion equality, freedom and justice in every way we can since we believe those are biblical values! So, we are thrilled to add Juneteenth to the list of holidays that we celebrate at VC!
When we celebrate Juneteenth, let’s make sure we take time to think about the reason we have this day off. It is to celebrate, and champion equality, freedom, and justice for all people!”