The following was adapted from a letter sent out by Rickey Hall, Vice President of the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity.

Saturday, June 19, 2021, will honor the oldest national commemoration of the ending of chattel slavery in the United States. On that date in 1865 enslaved Blacks in Texas learned of their emancipation and freedom. This year in celebration and recognition of Juneteenth, the University will raise the Pan-African flag. The flag will be raised Saturday at 10:00a.m. at the south end of Memorial Way (Memorial Way turnaround, near Kane Hall).

About Juneteenth

Nearly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, word finally reached Texas about the end of the Civil War and that all enslaved people were now free. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and delivered General Order Number 3. The order restated President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and stated that all enslaved people are to be recognized as free.

Juneteenth is known by many names – Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day. Whichever name it is called, it is a day that celebrates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved, and the vision of an equitable future. Next year, June 19, 2022 will be the first year Washington State celebrates the holiday statewide. In the bill passed by the Washington State legislature it is stated, “Slavery has left a catastrophic and unrelenting legacy of trauma for generations of Black/African Americans. Racism, discrimination, and inequity have been prevalent throughout the United States of America since 1619, which has cost Black/African Americans life, liberty, and prosperity.” The legislature designates Juneteenth as “a day to engage in fellowship with Black/African Americans; revisit our solidarity and commitment to antiracism; educate ourselves about slave history; and continue having conversations that uplift every Washingtonian.”

Celebrations

Celebrate Juneteenth in community, in fellowship, and by acknowledging the significant ways the Black community has contributed and continue to contribute to this country. There are many local and national community groups that have robust Juneteenth activities and resources for learning available to anyone with a desire to learn about the history of the holiday and what it means in today’s culture.

History

Activities