Congress Overwhelmingly Approves Juneteenth as New Federal Holiday

The strong Republican support really surprises me.

I’m not surprised. It’s part of the “too little, too late” method. Those who supported it realized that opposing it is a losing proposition, as in losing the next election. I will also not be surprised in the least at the public far right base reaction to this.

Why is June 19th marked as the holiday? The Thirteenth Amendment wasn’t ratified until December, 1865 and slavery was still legal in (at least) Delaware at the time.

I don’t oppose a holiday to celebrate the end of slavery. It was a stain on our country. But to put June 19th as the date is just false history.

Surprise what? The Republicans were the abolition party and still crow over that, even if that was ages ago.

What I’m more curious about is whether this bill will be signed in time to make this year’s Juneteenth (only 44 hours away) a holiday.

It took me only a minute to find out the answer to that on wikipedia.

It is commemorated on the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865, announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas.

It was originally a yearly celebration in Texas, starting in Galveston on June 19th 1866. From there it spread elsewhere.

The day was first celebrated in Austin in 1867 under the auspices of the Freedmen’s Bureau, and it had been listed on a “calendar of public events” by 1872. That year, black leaders in Texas raised $1,000 for the purchase of 10 acres (4 ha) of land to celebrate Juneteenth, today known as Houston’s Emancipation Park. The observation was soon drawing thousands of attendees across Texas; an estimated 30,000 black people celebrated at Booker T. Washington Park in Limestone County, Texas, established in 1898 for Juneteenth celebrations.

It’s interesting that you would jump to the wild conclusion of ‘false history’ without bothering to look up the actual history.

You may argue that some other date is more appropriate, but the actual history of that celebration is firmly rooted in the date of June 19.

I did look up the actual history and slavery did not end on June 19, 1865, not de facto or de jure. Sure that day was celebrate in Texas as the liberation of slaves in Texas, but a national holiday should be on the day that slavery actually ended.

If you can name a more appropriate day that’s been consistently celebrated for the last 155 years and is more worthy of being a federal holiday, we’re welcome to suggestions.

Could you suggest a different day, on which slavery did end, either de facto or de jure?

It commemorates a day in Galveston, Texas when the slaves there were told they were free. Which they had been for two years but no one had told them.

It was based on the Emancipation Proclamation and not the Thirteenth Amendment. The EP freed the slaves in the Confederacy, which Texas was part of.

Rather than bog down this thread, here’s the wiki on Juneteenth. (again). Please do read up on it, @UltraVires because it pains me you are ignorant enough about US history to make the post I quoted. June 19th to celebrate the end of slavery is the opposite of “false history”.

And, dare I say it? - it’s not up to the White majority to decided when the descendants of slaves celebrate freedom, it’s up to those descendants to make that decision.

I propose December 18, 1865. It was ratified on December 6, but announced on the 18th. (Much like our DOI was signed on July 2 but formally adopted July 4). Slaves were still held in Kentucky and Delaware on that day. It seems odd to celebrate the “end of slavery” when slaves were held for another six months.

I don’t appreciate your personal insults, but in any event it is up to all people, white and black, to vote on national holidays.

I think chattel slavery was such an important part of American history that it’s entirely worthy of two commemorations, one to celebrate liberation and one to mourn the wickedness that occurred for so long. Juneteenth is (A) already a regional celebration and (B) located in the celebratory holiday season of the year. (You can’t fight against the sunshine, otherwise you end up with a Memorial Day/Veterans Day situation where the atmosphere is completely backwards for the supposed purpose of the two days.)

December is actually in the right season for a more sedate commemoration, though a week before Christmas might be cutting it too close. Maybe find some event in March/April and use that out of convenience just to fill in that gap in the calendar. Then move Columbus Day (which is rather tired and obsolete these days) to October 19th (Battle of Yorktown) or some other convenient autumnal revolution-centric date so that people can’t complain that the slaves get more days than the founding fathers.

It seems odd to count the Christian Era calendar from a year when Herod had been dead for at least four years, and to celebrate Independence Day two days after the vote was taken in favor of independence, and yet here we are.

It’s a fact that Juneteenth has been celebrated by millions of Americans for a century and a half. That fact is just as relevant to this national holiday, if not more so, than the fact of the date of the 13th Amendment.

Holidays are about traditions, and this is a long tradition in America.

What personal insult? You have demonstrated that you are uninformed and ignorant of the century and a half history of Juneteenth in the US. That’s not an insult, that’s an observable fact. More than one person in this thread has offered you resources on which to educate yourself and remove that ignorance.

The day to celebrate the end of slavery should be determined by the descendants of those slaves because otherwise it’s the White majority dictating to minority all over again. What is the harm in letting the minority for whom this is most important determine the date?

What next? You’ll tell Mexican Americans they shouldn’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo but rather September 16, the day the Mexican war of independence started and just discard all the history and culture behind Cinco de Mayo? You’ll tell the Irish to stop commemorating St. Patrick’s Day because the saint was actually born in Britain and not Irish? You’ll move the International Holocaust Remembrance Day from January 27 to the day the Germans surrendered?

Voting on whether or not to have the national holiday should be open to all. Choosing the date, thought, should be up to the people most affected. In this case that is not you or me, that is the descendants of slaves. Who, by the way, have been celebrating Juneteenth for over 150 years on June 19th.

It’s all arbitrary. We could just as easily have independence day in September (Treaty of Paris) or October (Battle of Yorktown), which are dates demonstrating when independence was secured rather than just sought. Or we could have MLK Day in April when he was shot, which is the big reason why there’s a holiday at all (he was obviously remarkable in his life but it was death that catapulted him to the level of having his own holiday). FDR moved Thanksgiving to goose retail sales receipts.

You just know when people come to quibble about the date, it’s not really the date that concerns them.

I knew before opening this thread that there would be someone objecting not openly to the holiday, but in the guise of nitpicking.

“Yeah, let’s celebrate the end of slavery!”


“No, not like that!”


Might the Republican support have something to do with the fact that Juneteenth has historically been more celebrated in the South (which is predominantly where Republican legislators are from)?

We aren’t a direct democracy at the federal level. It’s up to the US Congress to vote on national holidays. Which is what they did. If you disagree with the way your representative and / or senator(s) voted, feel free to vote for a different candidate next election.