Juneteenth 2024

graphic of raised hands that says celebrate Juneteenth 2024 graphic of raised hands that says Celebra Juneteenth 2024“Juneteenth,” June 19th, is a Federal Holiday. 

The word “Juneteenth”, a combination of June and nineteenth, also known as “Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, National Independence Day and Black Independence Day.” The slaves were freed on January 1, 1863, but it took a long time for word to reach other parts of the United States. On June 19, 1865, the Union Army informed the enslaved people in Galveston, Texas about the Emancipation Proclamation, making them among the last freed. First celebrated in Galveston in 1866, Texas made it a state holiday in 1979.   

Juneteenth celebrations highlight family and joyfulness through parades, music, dance, and delicious Southern Soul Food! The types and preparation of food also have significant meaning. There are often grilled or barbequed meats, and festive red foods and beverages; red represents the struggle and lost lives as well as resilience of the people. Try making the Juneteenth Recipe Hibiscus Ginger Sweet Tea.

Ms. Opal Lee, an African American activist, will be 98 years old this year. She experienced racism firsthand on June 19th in 1939 when her family’s home was burned down in Fort Worth Texas. A retired teacher and counselor, Ms. Lee’s activism includes helping a Food Bank in her hometown to expand, which led to the birth of a farm, called Opal’s Farm. Advocating for recognition of Juneteenth as a national holiday, she organized a 2.5-mile walk, representing the two and a half years for the slaves in Texas to learn about their freedom. This organized walk became a campaign and massive petition. Gathering support from national leaders and celebrities, the walk was started in Fort Worth Texas, in September 2016 and resulted in the delivery of the petition to the White House in January 2017. Finally in 2021, Ms. Lee witnessed President Joe Biden signing a bill to designate Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
June/2024 Written by: U. R. Taylor, MS, RDN, CDN