This year, as Black communities across the state celebrate Juneteenth, the Arizona Department of Education is proud to share in the celebration and provide resources to learn more about the complex and tragic history of slavery and emancipation in the United States.
The History of Juneteenth
Two and half years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, slavery and its harsh conditions continued unabated in Texas and parts of the recently defeated Confederate South. Despite efforts to delay widespread recognition of the abolishment of slavery, on June 19, 1865, a group of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, were finally informed that they had been freed years earlier by the Emancipation Proclamation. By the following year, the first Juneteenth was “celebrated with food, singing, and the reading of spirituals” and “commemorated newly freed Black people taking pride in their progress.” Today, Juneteenth celebrations take place across the country and world.
The story of Juneteenth, the new federal holiday
Juneteenth Becomes a Federal Holiday
On Thursday, June 17, 2021, President Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and with bipartisan support in the House. President Biden signed the bill saying, “This is a day of profound weight and profound power, a day in which we remember the moral stain, the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take … Great nations don't ignore their most painful moments, they embrace them. In remembering those moments, we begin to heal and grow stronger.” Learn more:
Joe Biden makes Juneteenth a federal holiday
Resources for Teaching and Learning about Juneteenth