June 19, or Juneteenth, is the oldest known celebration of Black freedom from slavery. On this day we celebrate the realities and aspirations of liberty and justice for all.
Tahirih supports the present-day activism to secure the full independence and equality of all people and, beginning this June 19, will recognize Juneteenth as an annual paid holiday. Juneteenth is an incredibly important moment in American history and a cause for celebration and gathering within the Black community. Tahirih unites with our Black colleagues and communities to commemorate Black history and culture. The fight for full equality and freedom goes on still.
As communities across the country and all Tahirih offices commemorate Juneteenth, we wanted to share some resources from the Management Information Exchange for those interested in learning more about the historical day.
Smithsonian magazine offers a brief introduction to the history & future of Juneteenth in a brief interview with the late Professor Emeritus of Folklore at Indiana University and author of Jubilation: African-American Celebrations in the Southeast, Dr. William Wiggins, Jr.
This article by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., published at The Root, provides a more in-depth look at the day and its earliest celebrations. Gates, Jr. writes, “In one of the most inspiring grassroots efforts of the post-Civil War period, they transformed June 19 from a day of unheeded military orders into their own annual rite, “Juneteenth,” beginning one year later in 1866.” Since then, at least “41 other states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday or holiday observance.”
The National Juneteenth Observance Foundation works towards recognition of the holiday across the nation and supports a commemorative Juneteenth stamp. The website includes historical information, current celebration listings, a store with books for further reading, and a link to a Change.org petition to make the day a federal holiday.
Juneteenth.com, founded by Cliff Robinson, offers a wide range of information on Juneteenth. From the history of the day to Juneteenth in current news, ways to connect through visitor feedback, remembrances, statements from leading political parties, lists of current national and international events, traditions particular to the celebration and even meaningful ideas on how you can celebrate in the classroom, your office or community, the mission of the site is to “promote unity, freedom, achievement and self-esteem through the celebration of Juneteenth across the nation and beyond.”
Hellajuneteenth.com provides historical information on Juneteenth, ways to get involved, how to celebrate the day, a social media toolkit, and resources specifically for the Black community as well as non-Black allies.