Juneteenth and Independence Day are both holidays that celebrate freedom in the United States, but they commemorate different events.
- Independence Day is celebrated on July 4th and commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, which declared the United States to be an independent nation.
- Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19th and commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and issued General Order No. 3, which proclaimed that all enslaved people in Texas were free. This was two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863.
While both holidays celebrate freedom, they do so in different ways. Independence Day celebrates the political freedom of the United States as a nation, while Juneteenth celebrates the individual freedom of Black Americans who had been enslaved.
Juneteenth has been celebrated by Black Americans for many years, but it was not officially recognized as a federal holiday until 2021. In June of that year, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, which made Juneteenth a federal holiday.
Today, Juneteenth is celebrated by people of all races and ethnicities. It is a time to reflect on the progress that has been made in the fight for racial equality, and to recommit to the work that still needs to be done.