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What is Juneteenth and How is it Celebrated?

What is Juneteenth and How is it Celebrated?

Celebrate Freedom Day, with a family reunion focused on equality, barbecue, and red soda

Juneteenth commemorates African-American freedom throughout the USA.

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, is celebrated annually on June 19. gather to commemorate African-American freedom, as it was on this day in 1865 two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation that the slaves in Texaswere finally liberated. This important day in American history is now marked throughout the country with parades, reunions, speeches, and enormous barbecues.

What is Juneteenth and How is it Celebrated? (Slideshow)

Juneteenth was first recognized by the government as an official celebration encouraging self-development and respect for all cultures in 1980. This was thanks to the efforts of Al Edwards, a 13-term African-American state representative from Texas, who led the way to making June 19 a state holiday in Texas. It remains an official holiday only in Texas, but is celebrated widely, and is observed in almost every state.

It remains unclear why exactly the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation took so long to reach Texas. Rumors tend to suggest that either the Texans were choosing to ignore the proclamation, and there was not enough law-enforcement present to do anything about it, or that the message had failed to reach Texas, which was fairly cut off from the events of the war. It took General Gordon Granger to land at Galveston and pronounce that the war was over and the slaves were free for the African-Americans to finally gain their freedom.

As soon as this announcement was made, the ex-slaves ran out into the street to joyously celebrate. Some people immediately headed north, searching for what they believed would be true freedom, others headed to neighboring states to find estranged family members, and still others remained in Galveston, celebrating their new-found freedom. They popped open bottles of strawberry red soda, threw away their ragged garments and put on the clothing of former masters, and feasted on barbecue in the Texan streets. Today, celebrations of June 19take place throughout America, with the focus staying on self-development and respect for all cultures.


Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a time to celebrate, gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future. The National Museum of African American History and Culture invites you to engage in your history and discover ways to celebrate this holiday.

Please check back on June 14, 2021 for new digital resources.

We will begin this celebration with a rendition of the Negro National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Rochelle Rice sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) in 1899. It was first performed in public in the Johnsons’ hometown of Jacksonville, Florida as part of a celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900 by a choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal.

A drawing of James Weldon Johnson by Winold Reiss.

James Weldon Johnson was a Renaissance man: successful Broadway lyricist, poet, novelist, diplomat, and a key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1900 he collaborated with his brother John to produce "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a song that later acquired the subtitle of the "Negro National Anthem."


Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a time to celebrate, gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future. The National Museum of African American History and Culture invites you to engage in your history and discover ways to celebrate this holiday.

Please check back on June 14, 2021 for new digital resources.

We will begin this celebration with a rendition of the Negro National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Rochelle Rice sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) in 1899. It was first performed in public in the Johnsons’ hometown of Jacksonville, Florida as part of a celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900 by a choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal.

A drawing of James Weldon Johnson by Winold Reiss.

James Weldon Johnson was a Renaissance man: successful Broadway lyricist, poet, novelist, diplomat, and a key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1900 he collaborated with his brother John to produce "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a song that later acquired the subtitle of the "Negro National Anthem."


Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a time to celebrate, gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future. The National Museum of African American History and Culture invites you to engage in your history and discover ways to celebrate this holiday.

Please check back on June 14, 2021 for new digital resources.

We will begin this celebration with a rendition of the Negro National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Rochelle Rice sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) in 1899. It was first performed in public in the Johnsons’ hometown of Jacksonville, Florida as part of a celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900 by a choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal.

A drawing of James Weldon Johnson by Winold Reiss.

James Weldon Johnson was a Renaissance man: successful Broadway lyricist, poet, novelist, diplomat, and a key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1900 he collaborated with his brother John to produce "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a song that later acquired the subtitle of the "Negro National Anthem."


Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a time to celebrate, gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future. The National Museum of African American History and Culture invites you to engage in your history and discover ways to celebrate this holiday.

Please check back on June 14, 2021 for new digital resources.

We will begin this celebration with a rendition of the Negro National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Rochelle Rice sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) in 1899. It was first performed in public in the Johnsons’ hometown of Jacksonville, Florida as part of a celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900 by a choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal.

A drawing of James Weldon Johnson by Winold Reiss.

James Weldon Johnson was a Renaissance man: successful Broadway lyricist, poet, novelist, diplomat, and a key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1900 he collaborated with his brother John to produce "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a song that later acquired the subtitle of the "Negro National Anthem."


Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a time to celebrate, gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future. The National Museum of African American History and Culture invites you to engage in your history and discover ways to celebrate this holiday.

Please check back on June 14, 2021 for new digital resources.

We will begin this celebration with a rendition of the Negro National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Rochelle Rice sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) in 1899. It was first performed in public in the Johnsons’ hometown of Jacksonville, Florida as part of a celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900 by a choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal.

A drawing of James Weldon Johnson by Winold Reiss.

James Weldon Johnson was a Renaissance man: successful Broadway lyricist, poet, novelist, diplomat, and a key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1900 he collaborated with his brother John to produce "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a song that later acquired the subtitle of the "Negro National Anthem."


Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a time to celebrate, gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future. The National Museum of African American History and Culture invites you to engage in your history and discover ways to celebrate this holiday.

Please check back on June 14, 2021 for new digital resources.

We will begin this celebration with a rendition of the Negro National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Rochelle Rice sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) in 1899. It was first performed in public in the Johnsons’ hometown of Jacksonville, Florida as part of a celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900 by a choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal.

A drawing of James Weldon Johnson by Winold Reiss.

James Weldon Johnson was a Renaissance man: successful Broadway lyricist, poet, novelist, diplomat, and a key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1900 he collaborated with his brother John to produce "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a song that later acquired the subtitle of the "Negro National Anthem."


Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a time to celebrate, gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future. The National Museum of African American History and Culture invites you to engage in your history and discover ways to celebrate this holiday.

Please check back on June 14, 2021 for new digital resources.

We will begin this celebration with a rendition of the Negro National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Rochelle Rice sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) in 1899. It was first performed in public in the Johnsons’ hometown of Jacksonville, Florida as part of a celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900 by a choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal.

A drawing of James Weldon Johnson by Winold Reiss.

James Weldon Johnson was a Renaissance man: successful Broadway lyricist, poet, novelist, diplomat, and a key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1900 he collaborated with his brother John to produce "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a song that later acquired the subtitle of the "Negro National Anthem."


Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a time to celebrate, gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future. The National Museum of African American History and Culture invites you to engage in your history and discover ways to celebrate this holiday.

Please check back on June 14, 2021 for new digital resources.

We will begin this celebration with a rendition of the Negro National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Rochelle Rice sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) in 1899. It was first performed in public in the Johnsons’ hometown of Jacksonville, Florida as part of a celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900 by a choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal.

A drawing of James Weldon Johnson by Winold Reiss.

James Weldon Johnson was a Renaissance man: successful Broadway lyricist, poet, novelist, diplomat, and a key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1900 he collaborated with his brother John to produce "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a song that later acquired the subtitle of the "Negro National Anthem."


Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a time to celebrate, gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future. The National Museum of African American History and Culture invites you to engage in your history and discover ways to celebrate this holiday.

Please check back on June 14, 2021 for new digital resources.

We will begin this celebration with a rendition of the Negro National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Rochelle Rice sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) in 1899. It was first performed in public in the Johnsons’ hometown of Jacksonville, Florida as part of a celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900 by a choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal.

A drawing of James Weldon Johnson by Winold Reiss.

James Weldon Johnson was a Renaissance man: successful Broadway lyricist, poet, novelist, diplomat, and a key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1900 he collaborated with his brother John to produce "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a song that later acquired the subtitle of the "Negro National Anthem."


Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a time to celebrate, gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future. The National Museum of African American History and Culture invites you to engage in your history and discover ways to celebrate this holiday.

Please check back on June 14, 2021 for new digital resources.

We will begin this celebration with a rendition of the Negro National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Rochelle Rice sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) in 1899. It was first performed in public in the Johnsons’ hometown of Jacksonville, Florida as part of a celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900 by a choir of 500 schoolchildren at the segregated Stanton School, where James Weldon Johnson was principal.

A drawing of James Weldon Johnson by Winold Reiss.

James Weldon Johnson was a Renaissance man: successful Broadway lyricist, poet, novelist, diplomat, and a key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1900 he collaborated with his brother John to produce "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a song that later acquired the subtitle of the "Negro National Anthem."