Slavery was abolished through the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863; however, the last African American slaves weren’t notified of their freedom until June 19, 1865, when the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, to make the announcement in General Order No. 3 at the end of the Civil War.
This year marks Lansing’s 27th anniversary celebrating Juneteenth. It is Michigan’s 16th year as a state holiday, as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has once again issued a proclamation that declares today, June 19, as Juneteenth Celebration Day in Michigan.
“Juneteenth is a crucial day in our nation’s history to remember how far we have come and recognize how far we still have to go,” said Whitmer, who encouraged all Michiganders to participate in African American history and culture.
“Juneteenth National Freedom Day is a phrase that I hope becomes a reality,” said Marilyn Plummer, chairperson for the Lansing Juneteenth Committee.
Here are some ways you can observe or celebrate Juneteenth.
Read about Juneteenth
Read books like “Juneteenth, Celebrating Freedom” by Julian Van Dyke or “Juneteenth for Mazie” by Floyd Cooper, among others.
Support Black-owned Businesses
Lists can be found at:
Commit to Follow Words with Actions
Be responsible for continuing your history education through research, thoughtful conversation and education. Go more in-depth by watching documentaries and movies like “13th” now showing on Netflix.
LansingJuneteenthCelbration.org phrased it best in a message on its website, as shared by Plummer:
“The celebration of Juneteenth is a multicultural recognition of the triumph of the human spirit over the cruelty of slavery. For African Americans, it is a tribute to the strength, endurance and faith of their ancestors. For all of America, it is a reminder that none of us is free until all of us are free.”