WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would make Juneteenth, or June 19th, a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The bill would lead to Juneteenth becoming the 12th federal holiday. It is expected to easily pass the House, which would send it to President Joe Biden for his signature. Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free. Confederate soldiers surrendered in April 1865, but word didn’t reach the last enslaved Black people until June 19, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to Galveston, Texas. That was also about two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

I’ve never heard of Juneteenth, this article makes it sound like I’ve had my head in the sand. I’m all for another holiday, who doesn’t want time off.

I believe it’s hisotically been mostly a Texas thing. It came up last year when Trump scheduled a big rally on that day. Before that I hadn’t heard of it.

I first heard of it when Ralph Ellison’s book was published

But yeah, this is a nice time of year for a holiday, and it’s a cause i can get behind.

I think I first heard about it maybe 10 years ago or so. Seems kind of random: the day that Galvestonians learned about the Emancipation Proclamation.

Slavery remained legal in the United States (specifically in Delaware and Kentucky) until the ratification of the 13th Amendment 6 months after Juneteenth.

If we’re going to have a national holiday commemorating the end of slavery… why are we picking the end of people believing they were slaves in Texas… while legal slavery remained elsewhere?

Seems to me like December 6 would be a more logical date. But I guess Delaware and Kentucky slaves… don’t count???

By the way, I fear that the real answer to my question is that far too many people believe that the Emancipation Proclamation ended legal slavery in the United States, and don’t understand that this was not at all the case.

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Because it makes a lot more sense to celebrate liberation in June, than in December when a good bit of the country is huddled indoors?

Plus it avoids awkward questions like “Why didn’t Delaware free their slaves before being forced to by the 13th Amendment?”

Yet… one could ask the exact same question of Texas (except substitute “Emancipation Proclamation” in for “13th Amendment”).

In fact, it might even be arguably worse to lie to your former slaves and not tell them that slavery has ended and make them go on believing they have the legal status of slaves when they in point of fact do not.

I dunno. The whole thing seems weird to me.

Not celebrating the end of slavery… picking June 19 as the date.

Sure, the weather’s nicer in June than in December. But I bet a December 6 holiday would be great for the economy. Retailers, ski resorts, ice skating rinks, and more.

If you want a warmer weather national holiday, why not pick something in the drought between Presidents Day and Memorial Day? Perhaps Emancipation Day on April 16 that sometimes affects the due date of income taxes. That’s when slavery was outlawed in DC and is already a legal holiday in DC.

If you’re going to pick a date when a random piece of the country ended slavery… why not our nation’s capital? Wouldn’t that make more sense than Galveston, TX?

Why Galveston and not Raleigh or Wheeling or Pittsburgh or Louisville?

I think it’s a date that (some) Black people have traditionally celebrated. A historical accident.


I heard about it a few years ago. Didn’t learn about it in school, unfortunately. I think honoring it as a federal holiday is the right move.

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And others celebrate on April 16. What makes June 19 superior to April 16?

Because that’s when Black people tend to celebrate it. Why not just honor that rather than whitesplain when Black people should be celebrating emancipation?


I don’t think holidays tend to be that precise. Saturnalia anyone?

I didn’t learn about “Juneteenth” in school, but I did learn that in more remote parts of the South it was several years after the Emancipation Proclamation before all the slaves learned about it, particularly in Texas.

So I guess that’s something.

Also, I recall being told, when I learned about Juneteenth, that there was some debate as to whether the correct date was June 16th or 19th which is why it was called Juneteenth… a way of dealing with the ambiguity. I can’t find any source for that though, so perhaps that’s an urban legend?

If we’re changing holidays though I’m all for scrapping the one where we celebrate our leaders and changing it to one where we celebrate voting


Well President’s Day already exists. But I proposed simply expanding Emancipation Day (April 16) to the whole country, rather than just DC instead of Juneteenth which is really close to both Memorial Day and Independence Day.

Juneteenth has been celebrated for a pretty long time. Its first celebration was during a time when late November to early January was focused on “the Holidays” (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s) and being with family. As a societal expectation.

“Retail” and “resorts” and “rinks” weren’t things back then. The current legislation is recognizing a tradition among the demographic that has celebrated this liberation. IMO, doing something else would appear to be putting a “white lens” on a Black cultural event (no matter the reason for the “something else.”


Eh, it’s recognizing a tradition among a subset of the demographic.

Emancipation Day didn’t become a legal holiday until 2005, but it was celebrated prior to that.

Wait, are you talking within Texas specifically or outside of Texas? Wikipedia tells me that it didn’t start to be celebrated outside of Texas until pretty recently.

Within Texas it makes considerably more sense since that date is indeed when slavery ended in Texas. (Well, effectively end it… legally it ended more than 2 years earlier, but if people don’t know then it doesn’t have much practical effect.)

But picking Texas other than the United States as a whole or some other randomly selected spot within the US seems weird… for a federal holiday.

I feel like Juneteenth has gained traction organically in the past several years. Yes, primarily among the demographic that it celebrates. So it has become a natural time to celebrate more broadly.

And it doesn’t hurt that it’s at a great time of year for a day off.

I’d be slightly annoyed at yet another holiday in December. December is already over-loaded. But in June? Sign me up!

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