Juneteenth: Washington’s newest official holiday (read on UW’s The Whole U)

Read the full article by Nicole Reeve-Parker on UW’s The Whole U page, where you can learn more about ways to learn, celebrate, and locally observe Juneteenth this year!

Start reading below:

“Juneteenth, variously known as Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, Jubilee day or Liberation Day, is a holiday commemorating the June 19, 1865 announcement in Galveston, Texas of the emancipation of all chattel slaves following the end of the Civil War.

The oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, Juneteenth – a portmanteau of June and nineteenth – is sometimes referred to as Independence Day for Blacks or America’s second Independence Day.

Appropriately, in 1980 Texas became the first state in the U.S. to declare Juneteenth a state holiday. Juneteenth was designated as a federal holiday on June 17, 2021, by unanimous vote of the Senate and an overwhelming majority of Congress, making it the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was declared a holiday in 1983.

The Washington state legislature officially recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday in 2021, effective this year on Monday, June 20, 2022. 

Read this opinion piece by LaNesha DeBardelaben, Director of the Northwest African American Museum, on our state’s newest official holiday.

Although the Emancipation Proclamation officially abolished slavery in states rebelling against the Union more than two years earlier, in January 1863, widespread knowledge and implementation of the proclamation was slow to spread across many southern states. Historians have various theories for why this is, with most agreeing that slave owners’ disingenuity played a part.

However, while official commemoration of Juneteenth offers the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the progress made toward racial equality, the historic impact of slavery in the United States continues to shape our communities and our lives.”

Again, read the full article by clicking the link above to learn more about ways to learn, celebrate, and locally observe Juneteenth this year.

By Meaghan Wood (She/Her)
Meaghan Wood (She/Her) Career Coach