Among the recent incidents of protests throughout the United States and the world, including in cities such as Dickinson, Bismarck and Fargo, regarding the recent death of George Floyd on May 25, Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo, said he will propose a bill in the next legislative session that recognizes Juneteenth as a North Dakota holiday.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum also recently announced that Friday, June 19, 2020, to be recognized in the state as “Juneteenth Celebration Day.”
In a recent tweet on June 17, Burgum wrote, “Friday has been proclaimed Juneteenth Celebration Day. We encourage North Dakotans to observe and learn more about this day commemorating the end of slavery, as we renew our committment to the ideals of democracy and liberty, justice and equality for all citizens.”
While June 19 will be viewed as being “Juneteenth Celebration Day” in North Dakota for 2020, the tweet does not mention if the celebration day will be celebrated in later years such as in 2021.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery within the United States, dating back to June 19, 1865.
While President Abraham Lincoln created the Emancipation Procolomation, a proclamation in which abolished slavery, which went into affect as of Jan. 1, 1863, two years into the Civil War, the proclomation had little to no impact on the state of Texas, due to limited numbers of union troops to help execute the executive order.
Two-and-a-half years later, on June 19, 1865, two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee officially surrendered on April 9, 1865, ending the Civil War, Union Major General Gordon Granger set foot into Galveston, Texas with news stating the Civil War was over, and those that were enslaved were to be freed. With the large number of union soldiers present, the resistance from the people of Texas were unable to withstand and succumbed to the order.
It was in Galveston, the headquarters district of Texas, on June 19, where Granger announced the General Order, Number 3, stating:
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”
Thus officially ending the era of enslavement of African-Americans in the United States and becoming a nationally recognized and celebrated day in American history, officially known as “Juneteenth.”
While Juneteenth is currently not viewed as a national holiday, such as President’s Day, Martin Luther King Day and the Fourth of July, the country is beginning to find more ways of recognition and celebration of the day, as seen with cities such as New York City officially naming the day an official holiday, and states such as North Dakota making it Juneteenth a “Celebration Day.”