Across the nation, millions are celebrating Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in Texas.
On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation took effect ending slavery in the Union. However, Texas continued to practice slavery two years after passage of the Emancipation Proclamation. Major Gen. Gordon Granger and Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, two months after the official end of the Civil War, and by law, freed 250,000 slaves.
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free,” Granger said during a speech on that date. Black Texans began to celebrate what became known as Juneteenth every year on June 19.
In 1979, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. In Dallas and Fort Worth, Juneteenth is celebrated for a week. Juneteenth is now recognized in 47 states, but it’s not an official U.S. holiday.
Here are ways to celebrate Juneteenth and support the Black community.
Support Black-owned businesses
Black-owned businesses are often the largest employers of the people in the Black community. One million Black-owned businesses in the U.S. employed 975,052 workers, according to Census data compiled by BlackDemographics.com. However, many businesses find it difficult to obtain small business loans, which can be imperative to keeping the lights on. Celebrate Juneteenth by supporting a Black-owned business.
Give to a charity or foundation that helps the Black community
To celebrate Juneteenth, give back to those foundations and charities that directly support the Black community. CharityNavigator.org provides a list of charities that can help individuals search and find the charity that speaks to them.
Continue reading on the next page.