Wednesday 24 October 2018

What’s Juneteenth and how has it been celebrated online?

On June 19 1865, slaves in Texas heard they were officially free.

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when slavery was abolished in Texas (Prikhnenko/Getty Images)
Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when slavery was abolished in Texas (Prikhnenko/Getty Images)

By Taylor Heyman, Press Association

People across the US and beyond are celebrating a national day you may not have heard about.

Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, is the day in 1865 when slavery was abolished in Texas – two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

On the day itself, union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger arrived into Galveston, Texas to announce the end of the civil war and that the state’s 250,000 slave were officially free.

With the end of slavery came new challenges. The period after emancipation, known as Reconstruction, saw families struggling to reunite, create communities with schooling, seek reparations and become involved with local and national politics.

Although the day is not a national public holiday in the US, Texas has marked Juneteenth as an official state holiday since 1980.

The day is celebrated with parades, street parties and re-enactments as well as copious tweets and social media posts.

Politicians, public figures, organisations and ordinary people shared information about Juneteenth on their social media pages.

Some used the day to highlight the work still to be done to ensure equality for all in the country.

Today, we celebrate the African-American community and commemorate Juneteenth. This #Juneteenth marks the 153rd...

Posted by Congressman Hank Johnson on Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The NAACP highlighted families currently being separated on the country’s southern border as a new fight for justice and rights.

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