The History of Juneteenth

Style Magazine Newswire | 6/15/2018, 9:10 a.m.
How many people know the actual history behind the Juneteenth holiday? Sadly, through no fault of their own, many of ...

How Juneteenth became an official holiday

Nine years ago, the Texas Emancipation Juneteenth Cultural & Historical Commission unanimously elected Rep. Al Edwards as Chairman of the Juneteenth Commission. Chairman Edwards has been the only chairman in the history of the commission. Why? He is the “father” of Juneteenth.

In 1980, Texas was the first state to establish Juneteenth as a state holiday under legislation introduced by freshman Democratic state representative Al Edwards. By 2008, nearly half of US states observed the holiday as a ceremonial observance. As of May 2016, when the Maryland legislature approved official recognition of the holiday, 45 of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as either a state holiday or ceremonial holiday, a day of observance. States that do not recognize it are Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota and South Dakota.

In 1996, the first legislation to recognize "Juneteenth Independence Day" was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.J. Res. 195, sponsored by Barbara-Rose Collins (D-MI). In 1997, Congress recognized the day through Senate Joint Resolution 11 and House Joint Resolution 56. In 2013, the U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 175, acknowledging Lula Briggs Galloway (late president of the National Association of Juneteenth Lineage) who "successfully worked to bring national recognition to Juneteenth Independence Day", and the continued leadership of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation. In 2018, Apple added Juneteenth to its calendars in iOS under official US holidays. served as a source for this story.