Juneteenth – Celebrate Freedom!

Sunday, June 19, THS Offices Closed on Monday, June 20 In Observance

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Observing this holiday has been a THS tradition for over 20 years.

The U.S. now officially recognizes Juneteenth as a national holiday.  Just days before the celebrations in June 2021, President Biden signed a bill passed by the House and Senate making it official. “All Americans can feel the power of this day and learn from our history,” said President Biden at the signing ceremony. The legislation came on the heels of corporate giants Twitter, Square, Nike, Lyft Quicken Loans the NFL, Apple and others, leading a trend of companies making Juneteenth a day off for their employees.

From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. It was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future.

Juneteenth is one more way for people in cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions to join together in truthfully acknowledging a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society.