Juneteenth has been celebrated by Black Americans since the late 1800s, but this year, the holiday has garnered renewed attention as Black Lives Matter demonstrators call for meaningful policy changes following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers.
In fact, for the first time this year, New York City is having its first-ever Juneteenth March on City Hall, which will celebrate Juneteenth and push for more systematic changes.
What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is the celebration and commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers brought news to Galveston, Texas that the war was over and slaves were free (this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.) The celebration was coined "Juneteenth" and became a time for praying and for gathering with family. It became massively celebrated in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date, according to Juneteenth.com.
When does it happen this year?
June 19 is on Friday this year.
How is it celebrated?
The day, which still isn't an official national holiday, has been celebrated more in Southern states with rodeos, fishing, barbecuing and baseball, with a focus on education and self improvement.
This week, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order making it a holiday for state employees and promised to advance legislation to make it an official state holiday next year.
This year, New York City has its own ways of celebrating. Scroll down to see what these are.