Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed a proclamation making June 19, Juneteenth Celebration Day.
Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the end of slavery for African-Americans in the United States. It is the oldest known celebration, dating back to 1865. Its origins stem from the Union letting Texas, a confederate state, know that the slaves were free.
"Juneteenth is an important day throughout our nation and Michigan is proud to take part in recognizing the bravery of those who fought for their freedom," said Whitmer. "Michigan's strength comes from our great diversity, and we must continue to work together to make sure everyone can get ahead here. I'm proud to declare June 19, 2019, as Juneteenth Celebration Day, and I'm ready to work with everyone to make sure all Michiganders can thrive."
According to Juneteenth.com, "Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance."
When the announcement was made, celebrations began. Many African Americans from then on celebrated Juneteenth with a barbeue, baseball and guest speakers.
Check out some Juneteenth events happening here in Metro Detroit:
- Juneteenth Celebration: Strathmore Community Center, 70 W Alexandrine St
- Juneteenth Social Hour: The XO Room Detroit, 205 W Congress St
- Juneteenth Pop Up Shop: The Siti Hall, 536 N. Perry St.