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Celebrating Juneteenth

Celebrating Juneteenth

On June 17, 2021, a bill was signed into law to recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday in the United States. This historic moment marked the first new federal holiday since the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was established nearly four decades prior. Juneteenth, which is a combination of “June” and “nineteenth,” honors the end to slavery in the United States. It marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people were freed.

Juneteenth History

Although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed two and a half years prior by President Abraham Lincoln, it did little to instantly free any enslaved peoples. Individuals continued to be enslaved in Texas.

Then, in the summer of 1865, U.S. General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and read a formal order stating, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” Throughout the state, celebrations broke out among the newly freed peoples, and Juneteenth was born. In December of 1865, slavery in the United States was formally abolished with the adoption of the 13th Amendment.

The following year, the first of what became the annual celebration of “Jubilee Day,” was held by the freedmen of Texas on June 19. In the decades that followed, Juneteenth commemorations have extended across the nation and are marked by music, community gatherings, prayer services and shared meals.

City of Bellevue Honors Juneteenth

In honor of Juneteenth, the Diversity Advantage Team from the City of Bellevue invites the community to join them on Thursday, June 13, 2024, to experience an educational performance with the archival film that transforms history into a moving, personal journey that illuminates social justice and its relevance today. Presented by Living Voices, “Our Revolution,” the performance will occur at Bellevue City Hall Council Chambers from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Registration is not required but welcome via Eventbrite.

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