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Honoring Juneteenth

On June 19, 1865, enslaved people in Galveston, Texas received the news that they were free - this, more than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1979, Texas made Juneteenth (June Nineteenth), an annual commemoration of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, an official holiday. In 2021, President Biden signed legislation that made June 19th a federal holiday. For the second year, Viewpoint School’s campus will be closed (this year, on June 20) in honor and respect.

For over 150 years, Juneteenth was a largely local affair, celebrated by Black Texans and slowly gaining recognition across the country. Juneteenth is an ethnic and culturally specific holiday - it’s Black American - and even more than this, it is regionally specific and tied to enslaved Black American Texans and their descendants. When it comes to the stewardship of this practice, this should be recognized. They are the center, the authors. They should be the “face” and the “voice” of Juneteenth. - Channon Miller and T.J. Tallie, Perspectives on History

The earliest iterations of Juneteenth in Texas, which began following the end of the Civil War, ranged from ceremonial readings of the Emancipation Proclamation to Black newspapers printing images of Abraham Lincoln in their pages… Other celebrations included church services in which preachers had the congregation give thanks for their freedom while encouraging them to be relentless in the ongoing struggle for racial equity. Often there were parades, large displays of song and celebration that shook the streets. And in the afternoons there were massive feasts, the sort of spreads people looked forward to all year… - Clint Smith, How The Word Is Passed

Today and every day, we can best honor and celebrate Juneteenth by learning about and sharing its true history - including the challenges and triumphs - and by continuing to pursue justice and freedom for all.  

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