Juneteenth, portmanteau of June and nineteenth, is annually observed on June 19 to salute and pay respects to the thousands of African-Americans who were held captive and enslaved nearly 400 years ago
On January 01, 1863, the then US President, Abraham Lincoln had revealed an Emancipation Proclamation that stated that anyone and everyone held as slaves in the states "henceforward shall be free".
However, many torturers did not disclose this announcement to their African-American slaves and continued employing them in inhumane conditions
Major Granger to rescue!
Then, on June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger reached Galveston to make the slaves aware of the end of the Civil War and announce their freedom from their slavery days.
"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 in his announcement in 1865, as per records made available by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
Celebrations for Juneteenth began in 1866 and people started organising cookouts, musical performances, cultural gatherings, prayer meetings, reading sessions and much more.
Black Lives Matter
Last year, the movement grew manifolds as people took to streets to protest against the rising violence, discrimination and police brutality against the community that has led to deaths of several African-Americans in the US, France and several other countries all around the world.
Under the rule of former US President Donald Trump, the legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday was blocked by the Senate, as the Republican Ron Johnson claimed another federal holiday would result in taxpayers paying millions of dollars to give federal government employees an additional holiday.
This year, the US President Joe Biden signed legislation marking a new holiday for June 19.
Up till now, Juneteenth was celebrated as a holiday in 47 states and the District of Columbia. It is a paid holiday in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington state, and now in Ohio.
Grandmother of Juneteenth
Opal Lee (2nd L), the activist known as the grandmother of Juneteenth, was also present as the US President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, in the East Room of the White House on June 17.
Achievers of the community
President Biden also invited American entertainer Usher (L) to the ceremony. He is spotted speaking with US Congresswomen Cori Bush (R) and Ayanna Pressley in this picture.