Last year, Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19th and also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day, became a federal holiday.
For over 150 years, Juneteenth has been celebrated in the United States to commemorate the end of slavery.
As Abraham Lincoln was elected president on March 4, 1861, it became his mission to end slavery. Sadly, this mission was not backed by everyone, thus sparking the American Civil War (1861-1865). The war, which lasted Lincoln’s entire presidency, was fought between the United States and the Confederate States of America, made up of eleven southern states that withdrew from the Union.
On January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared all slaves to be freed. It was not until over two years later, on June 19, 1865, that enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, learned of this news from a Union General who read out Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
This symbolic day, representing African American freedom, is recognized today by 49 of our 50 states, with Texas being the first to do so in 1980. Private companies, such as Adobe, Apple, and CSB (that's us) have also begun to recognize this day, giving their employees paid time off.
It’s important to note that while we celebrate this day as marking the official freedom of enslaved African Americans, we at CSB recognize the continuing struggle and oppression that still exists in our country. Recognizing Juneteenth is a step, and we encourage you to take the same.