Juneteenth 2022: What the Holiday Represents and How to Celebrate
By ETonline Editors
This video is unavailable because we were unable to load a message from our sponsors.
If you are using ad-blocking software, please disable it and reload the page.
Nicole Beharie Talks 'Miss Juneteenth' and Her Excitement About …
Johnny Depp's First TikTok Is Love Letter to Fans After Defamati…
Zendaya and Andrew Garfield Interview Each Other About Tom Holla…
‘Jurassic World Dominion’: DeWanda Wise on If This Is Really Fra…
‘Moonhaven’ Trailer: Joe Manganiello Stars in the Sci-Fi Thrille…
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp's Infamous Penthouse for Sale in Wak…
'Black Adam' Official Trailer
Penn Badgley on Where ‘You’ Season 4 Will Pick Up (Exclusive)
Johnny Depp's Lawyers Hint He Might Not Take Amber Heard's Payout
Julianne Hough on Life in NYC Following Divorce From Brooks Laich
Inside Britney Spears’ Fairytale Wedding: Party Secrets, Dress D…
'Little People, Big World': Zach and Tori Disappoint Amy Roloff …
Mariah Carey and Her Twins TikTok to Her 2002 Hit I Know What Yo…
'American Ninja Warrior's Akbar and Matt Bring Their Moves to 'D…
Todd and Julie Chrisley React to Being Found Guilty in Fraud Case
‘Evil’ Cast Says Season 3 Picks Up After David and Kristen’s Kis…
‘90 Day Fiancé’s Stephanie Matto Calls Herself the 'Thirstiest' …
Kanye West ‘Very Upset’ and ‘Hurt’ Over Pete Davidson Hanging Ou…
Andrew Garfield, Mary J. Blige and More Reflect on Time 100 Hono…
Juneteenth is just weeks away. This holiday -- named for and celebrated on June 19 -- commemorates the true ending of slavery in the United States. (You'll note, it is not Jan. 1, the date of President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. More on that below.) From its celebratory roots in churches across Texas to the impassioned protests of the last year, Juneteenth has come a long way with finally being recognition as an official holiday and even retailers like Amazon has recognized Black-Owned Businesses.
After an unanimous vote, the House passed legislation that establishes June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, with President Joe Biden signing the bill into law on June 17, 2021, recognizing Juneteenth as an official federal holiday.
Last year's Juneteenth received high-profile recognition via Juneteenth: Together We Triumph – A ‘Soul of a Nation’ Special Event which aired on ABC and hosted by Leslie Odom Jr. The special included performances by Jimmie Allen, Chloe Bailey (of Chloe x Halle) and Leon Bridges. This year, CNN will exclusively broadcast Juneteenth: A Global Celebration for Freedom featuring appearances by Yolanda Adams, Billy Porter, Jhene Aiko, Earth, Wind & Fire and more. Along with a series of specials, shows and performances, this year's Juneteenth National Independence Day will see a return to in-person celebrations that were put on pause due to the pandemic. But more than a century after the final enslaved people were freed, too many still don't know why celebrating June 19 is important -- and why America still has much to grapple with its legacy.
Why June 19?
Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation went into effect Jan. 1, 1863, declaring "all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State... shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free." It wouldn't be until two and a half years later, on June 19, 1865, that General Gordon Granger and his Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and any enslaved people were freed by executive order.
"The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor," Granger's proclamation read. "The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere."
Juneteenth Last Year
In addition to Juneteenth making its mark for the first time as an official U.S. holiday, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre -- one of the single worst acts of racial violence in history which took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Several documentaries have been released in 2021 to mark the occasion, including Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre, executive produced by NBA star Russell Westbrook and directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson and Peabody Award winner Marco Williams. The documentary focuses on a specific period, from the birth of Black Wall Street to its catastrophic downfall over two bloody days and then the fallout and eventual reconstruction.
Several other podcasts and docuseries have premiered in the last few months including the new six-part podcast series Blindspot: Tulsa Burning, Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer on National Geographicand Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten on PBS.
In Pop Culture
"Juneteenth," Black-ish (ABC) and "Still... Because of Slavery," #blackAF (Netflix)
ThroughBlack-ish and #blackAF, Kenya Barris has put the Black experience at the center of two modern family comedies. In Black-ish's season 4 premiere, "Juneteenth," Barris took inspiration from the hit Broadway musical Hamilton to shine a light on the lack of Black holidays. "There’s no holds barred here. We are full-on Broadway-ing it," star Tracee Ellis Ross told ET.
Three years later, Juneteenth appears in #blackAF, which doubles down on the ideas he presented in Black-ish by offering a brief history lesson on the date's significance and showing how Barris' onscreen family gathers in honor of June 19.
"Juneteenth," Atlanta (FX)
Created by and starring Donald Glover, the acclaimed FX comedy blends surreal humor with stark reality to hold a mirror up to the human condition. Season 1 episode "Juneteenth" (written by Stefani Robinson and directed by Janicza Bravo) sees Earn (Glover) and Vanessa (Zazie Beetz) attend a pretentious Juneteenth-themed party thrown by an affluent biracial couple, where the cocktail list includes drinks like Frozen Freedom Margarita and Plantation Master Poison.
Juneteenth Jamboree (PBS)
Juneteenth Jamboree is an ongoing PBS series that examines the holiday's significance in Black culture. Each 30-minute episode delves into various elements that have influenced Juneteenth over its 100-plus-year history, including Texas’ own African American heritage, the heroes who emerged from it and life on the frontier following the Civil War.
Writer-director Channing Godfrey Peoples drew on her own childhood in Galveston to shape the world of Miss Juneteenth, about former pageant queen turned single mom Turquoise (Nicole Beharie) as she struggles to make ends meet and uplift her daughter to fulfill her dream deferred.
"The story is largely about a woman, a family, trying to survive and figure out how they're going to relate to each other," Beharie told ET about the film, which debuts on demand on June 19. "It's about the future, and it's about the community and the values that they have and who is valued and who isn't. What are the codes of conduct? Who gets discarded and why?"
Juneteenth: A Novel, by Ralph Ellison
The Invisible Man author's second novel was published in 1999, five years after his death. Set in the 1950s, Juneteenth tells the story of a race-baiting senator, Adam Sunraider, who recalls his childhood spent with a Black con man turned reverend who took him in and raised him in the church. The celebration of Juneteenth, it turns out, marked Sunraider's initial departure point both physically and spiritually -- he dismissed it as "the celebration of a gaudy illusion" -- but all these years later, does he regret leaving it behind?
How to Help
Juneteenth is widely celebrated with events where people share good food while discussing the future of the community. With many social distancing mandates and other restrictions still being lifted across the country in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's festivities are starting to return with festivals, protests and celebrations taking place in person in cities around the country including San Antonio, Las Vegas, Chicago and many more.