Juneteenth, an annual federal holiday commemorating the liberation of Black enslaved people in the United States, is the subject of today’s Doodle, which was created by father-son artist team Jerome and Jeromyah Jones. Over 250,000 enslaved persons in Galveston, Texas, received word of their release on this day in 1865, marking the official end of the Civil War.
Despite the fact that President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in early 1863, many Black Americans were maintained enslaved in Confederate areas like Texas. General Granger and his Union troops marched to Texas, where they issued General Order No. 3, which announced the Proclamation’s news.
Former slaves became free Americans by executive decree after hearing the news, and many went north in pursuit of new lives and to reunite their families torn apart by slavery. On June 19, 1866, thousands of people returned to Galveston to celebrate their newfound freedom, called Jubilee Day. When a group of Black Americans faced backlash for returning to the island city in 1872, they bought ten acres of property in Houston and named it Emancipation Park. It was built expressly for the Juneteenth celebration and is still in use today.
In 1980, Texas made Juneteenth an official state holiday. The city of Galveston dedicated a 5,000 square-foot painting titled “Absolute Equality” near the area where General Granger broke the news of freedom when Juneteenth was officially named a national government holiday in June 2021.
Juneteenth is celebrated across the country with parades, rallies, and marches honouring the struggles of those who came before them and the hopes of those who will continue to pioneer the road forward. Juneteenth occurs on Father’s Day this year in the United States, and today’s Doodle artwork honours this link between generations, examining education, joy, community, and the significance of emancipation.
Juneteenth is a day of remembering and hope, as well as a call to action for progress toward a more just, united, and equitable country.
Happy Juneteenth, everyone!