Juneteenth is an annual celebration commemorating the day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which abolished slavery throughout the country. The following year, the freedman in Texas organized the first of what became the annual celebration of “Jubilee Day” on June 19. As more and more Black people migrated from Texas to other states, Juneteenth became an opportunity to reunite and celebrate their heritage. In 1979, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. Over the years, other states followed suit, and in June 2021, Congress passed a resolution that established Juneteenth as a national holiday and President Biden signed it into law on June 17, 2021.
Although the adoption of Juneteenth as a national holiday is a monumental achievement for our country, there is still much more work to be done. Slavery continues to have repercussions for our nation even in modern times, and these repercussions manifest themselves in a variety of ways, including unequal access to healthcare, quality education, and economic opportunity.
To kick off FERC’s Juneteenth celebration, we invite you to take a moment and listen to a rendition of the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”