On Thursday, May 13, 2021 Washington State Governor Jay Inslee declared Juneteenth an official state holiday, making June 19 a paid day off for state workers starting in 2022.
Juneteenth —also known as Emancipation Day and Freedom Day— marks the day when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 and informed the last enslaved African Americans there that they were free and that the war had ended. This news was delivered more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had been issued on January 1, 1863.
Let’s celebrate and honor the importance of this day!
- Learn more about this important day in America’s history at the official Juneteenth site.
- Celebrate Juneteenth by supporting Black-owned businesses across the country and in our neighborhood.
- Check out How Stuff Works to learn “How Juneteenth Became Black Independence Day.”
- Learn more about “Black Innovators Who Made Daily Life Easier.”
- Listen to “Lift Every Voice and Sing” — a song which has been deemed by many to be the “Black National Anthem.”
- Celebrate fiction and nonfiction by African American authors who continue to shape our culture, celebrate liberation, and acknowledge the ongoing work towards freedom and equality by checking out this Juneteenth reading list.
- Attend one of these local Juneteenth celebrations!
- Reflect on this historic day and how we can continue the celebration of African Americans in our communities.