Last year, New Hopes Governing Board unanimously decided to adopt June 19 as a paid holiday for all New Hope employees. Our leadership recognized the importance this day is for our staff, our youth and the families we serve. We take this day to reflect on the meaning that Juneteenth has for all American’s and specifically the African American community.
Juneteenth – also known as Freedom Day Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day – is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. On June 17th 20201 United State President Joe Biden officially signed legislation into law establishing Juneteenth as National Independence Day. Specifically, it commemorates Union army general Gordon Granger announcing federal orders in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, proclaiming that all slaves in Texas were free. President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had officially outlawed slavery in Texas and the other states in rebellion against the Union almost two and a half years earlier. Enforcement of the Proclamation generally relied on the advance of Union troops. Texas being the most remote of the slave states had a low presence of Union troops as the American Civil War ended; thus enforcement there had been slow and inconsistent before Granger’s announcement. Although Juneteenth is commonly thought of as celebrating the end of slavery in the United States, it was still legal and practiced in two Union border states (Delaware and Kentucky) until December 6, 1865, when ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution abolished non-penal slavery nationwide.