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The U.S. government is catching up with Black people who have been commemorating the end of slavery in the United States for generations with a day called “Juneteenth.”

President Joe Biden signed a bill Thursday that was passed by Congress to set aside Juneteenth, or June 19th, as a federal holiday. “I hope this is the beginning of a change in the way we deal with one another,” he said.

What is this federal holiday, and what is its history? Here’s a look:

THE ORIGINS

The celebration started with the freed slaves of Galveston, Texas. Although the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in the South in 1863, it could not be enforced in many places until after the end of the Civil War in 1865.

Laura Smalley, freed from a plantation near Bellville, Texas, remembered in a 1941 interview that her former master had gone to fight in the Civil War and came home without telling his slaves what had happened.

“Old master didn’t tell, you know, they was free,” Smalley said at the time. “I think now they say they worked them, six months after that. Six months. And turn them loose on the 19th of June. That’s why, you know, we celebrate that day.”

Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops arrived at Galveston on June 19, 1865, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. That was more than two months after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia.

Granger delivered General Order No. 3, which said: “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 next year, the now-free people started celebrating Juneteenth in Galveston. Its observance has continued around the nation and the world since. Events include concerts, parades and readings of the Emancipation Proclamation.

WHAT DOES ‘JUNETEENTH’ MEAN?

The term Juneteenth is a blend of the words June and nineteenth. The holiday has also been called Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day.

Often celebrated at first with church picnics and speeches, the holiday spread across the nation and internationally as Black Texans moved elsewhere.

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The vast majority of states recognize Juneteenth as a holiday or a day of recognition, like Flag Day, and most states hold celebrations. Juneteenth is a paid holiday for state employees in Texas, New York, Virginia and Washington, and hundreds of companies give workers a day off for Juneteenth.

WHY NOW?

The national reckoning over race helped set the stage for Juneteenth to become the first new federal holiday since 1983, when Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and had 60 co-sponsors. Bipartisan support emerged as lawmakers struggle to overcome divisions that are still simmering following the police killing last year of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Supporters of the holiday have worked to make sure Juneteenth celebrators don’t forget why the day exists.

“In 1776 the country was freed from the British, but the people were not all free,” Dee Evans, national director of communications of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, said in 2019. “June 19, 1865, was actually when the people and the entire country was actually free.”

There’s also sentiment to use the day to remember the sacrifices that were made for freedom in the United States — especially in these racially and politically charged days. Said Para LaNell Agboga, museum site coordinator at the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center in Austin, Texas: “Our freedoms are fragile, and it doesn’t take much for things to go backward.”

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Candace Owens

CANDACE OWENS: My Juneteenth Tweet Trended For Three Days. Here’s Why I’m Right.

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— OPINION — from Candace Owens from Dailywire.com

I’m pleased to report that I recently broke a personal record. I trended for the longest period that I have ever trended on Twitter in the entirety of my career. For 72 hours, “Candace Owens” was a top trend. The reason was because I sent out a tweet stating simply, “Juneteenth is so lame.”

The result: internet fireworks, people outraged. They couldn’t believe that I would say that. Candace, don’t you understand? How could you? How dare you? Candace, you are a pawn!

I tweeted this for a lot of reasons, first and foremost, because I don’t like things that are stupid. Things that don’t make sense annoy me. If you’re going to talk about celebrating the emancipation of slavery, weren’t there some other more relevant dates that would make more sense?

For example, it was on January 1st, 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln declared “all persons held as slaves”in rebel states free through the Emancipation Proclamation. Yet on New Year’s Day, we don’t hear any chatter about the Emancipation Proclamation despite its massive historical significance.

Then there was December 18th, 1865. That was the date that Congress officially proclaimed the outlawing of slavery throughout the entire country after the ratification of the 13th Amendment. If you’re going to pick a date to celebrate the abolition of slavery, that seems like a more logical choice.

Instead, we’re focusing on June 19th, 1865. Called “Juneteenth,” this is when a totally less significant event occurred. On this day, General Gordon Granger entered Texas and announced that Lincoln had freed the slaves … two and half years earlier.

Of course, it’s only been rather recent that many people have been talking about the anniversary of Granger’s announcement in Texas. Over just the last few years, attempts to portray the day as highly significant have ratcheted up. Some of its proponents even say that it’s black people’s true Independence Day, that we shouldn’t even celebrate Independence Day on July 4th because we didn’t have our independence.

There is no legitimate historical argument to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. But, of course, there is a political argument.

It was the political argument that President Joe Biden offered when he made our newest federal holiday official. “Juneteenth is a day in which we remember the moral stain and the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take,” he declared.

Doesn’t that make you want to celebrate? We’re just going to look back and ponder the “moral stain and terrible toll” of slavery. On Juneteenth, we can all get together and think about how awful America has been to black people.

And that, my friends, is the point. It is always the point.

There’s a lot of stuff going on in black America today that we could be talking about. We could be talking about the inner cities. We could be talking about the crime. We could be talking about the fact that black children are not passing in school, that they’re not learning math. In California, about 75% of black boys cannot pass a basic reading exam.

But no. Instead, our good congressmen got together and said this is the most important thing we must do, we must give ourselves another day off and we must make sure it perpetuates a left-wing political argument.

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The reality is that Juneteenth is just another effort to remind black Americans that we are somehow different. The point in all of this is to make black Americans feel that we are permanently disconnected from the American dream, that we should see ourselves as fundamentally separate from everybody else. The idea is to keep us eternally angry. The idea, of course, is perpetual revolution.

At its core, Juneteenth, just like critical race theory and The New York Times’ cynical and flawed “1619 Project,” is a part of a concerted effort from the Democrats to use black Americans as pawns. There’s never going to be a fix. Whether it’s reparations, whether it’s a holiday. They’re always going to say this is just the beginning, there’s more work that needs to be done.

This is what we are constantly seeing every day in this country. It’s all about race, or more precisely, it’s all about the race game. And that game only empowers politicians.

That explains why to kick off this first federal holiday of Juneteenth we witnessed the unveiling of a statue of George Floyd in Brooklyn, New York. George Floyd, a career criminal who traumatized and terrorized black Americans while he was alive, is now the hero that has been immortalized on the first official national celebration of Juneteenth.

We’ve gone from celebrating the unifying vision of Martin Luther King Jr. to enshrining the criminal behavior of George Floyd. On that statue, by the way, there are several quotes, including, “George Floyd was hunted. Knees were used to prey.”

The message to black Americans: Look around, be scared. This isn’t your country, this isn’t your land. Be angry. Go out, revolt — and be pawns to a sinister game being spun by Democrats in this country.

So I want you all to know that after posting my comments on Twitter and trending for a personal best three days, I took the time to reflect on my choice of words. Having done that hard work amid all that outrage, I have something I’d like to say:

Juneteenth is so lame.

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JUNETEENTH

Juneteenth Celebrations Around the Nation Marred by Shootings, Death

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Juneteenth celebrations in Oakland, California; Aurora, Colorado; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Clover, South Carolina; and Flint, Michigan, were marred by shootings and death.
ABC News reports that Oakland’s Juneteenth celebration at Lake Merritt was interrupted by gunfire at 6:22 p.m. When the shots ended, seven shooting victims were discovered, included a 22-year-old man who was killed in the incident.

Update: Police say there is a seventh victim in Saturday’s deadly Lake Merritt shooting in Oakland after showing up to the hospital with a gunshot wound. https://t.co/0Jy84TDe7h
— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) June 20, 2021

The Aurora Juneteenth celebration was brought to a violent end when multiple shooters unleashed 114 rounds on attendees, wounding four and killing one.
KKTV notes the “Public Safety Dispatch Center received at least 50 calls for service” regarding the Aurora attack.

Two people were killed in a shooting that erupted after a concert in Baton Rouge.
ABC News pointed out that the shooting occurred in a parking lot, following a fight, and multiple guns were involved.
WSOC-TV reports two separate shootings at Juneteenth Celebration in Clover, South Carolina. One of the shootings resulting in three people being wounded, including a 17-year-old boy. The other shooting involved a car pulling up beside a vehicle in which a family was traveling and opening fire.
Also on Juneteenth, a 19-year-old woman was shot and killed after allegedly shooting at a police officer in Flint, Michigan.
Breitbart News reported that the woman was taken to the hospital after the incident, but succumbed to her wounds.
A City of Flint Police Department press release says, “Preliminary investigation indicates the officer, who was working a traffic point for the Juneteenth Celebration, was fired upon by the lone occupant of a vehicle who drove up to him at the traffic point. Upon taking fire, the officer returned fire, striking the suspect.”

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Donald Trump

Juneteenth: Trump Proposed National Holiday in ‘Platinum Plan’ for Black America

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President Joe Biden signed Juneteenth into law on Thursday as a federal public holiday — but President Donald Trump had proposed doing so last year, as part of his “Platinum Plan” for black Americans.
Unlike Biden and the Democrats, who claim that America is beset by “systemic racism” that requires state intervention to achieve “equity,” Trump’s plan focused on creating opportunity for black Americans and fixing government services that fail the black community.

The “Four Pillars” of Trump’s plan were as follows:

OPPORTUNITY – By achieving historic employment levels for Black Americans, as well as increasing access to capital for new businesses, President Trump has been committed to ensuring all Black Americans can achieve the American Dream
SECURITY – By signing into law the celebrated First Step Act, President Trump has brought common sense criminal justice reform to the American people for the first time in decades, while ensuring that our streets and communities are safe for families and business owners
PROSPERITY – As the first President to provide long-term funding to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, this Administration continues to seek immediate and generational advancement for Black Americans
FAIRNESS – As demonstrated through his actions to initiate investment into Opportunity Zones, as well as address health disparities, wage gaps and necessary education reforms, President Trump works every day to advance a fair and just America for the Black Community

Trump made concrete promises, including a pledge to devote $500 billion in new investment in black communities and school choice to free black children from failing public schools. He also pledged symbolic achievements like Juneteenth.
The plan promised to make Juneteenth “a National Holiday” marking the emancipation of slaves in the Civil War.
Though embraced recently as a left-wing cause, Juneteenth has long been a regional holiday with patriotic themes. The official flag of Juneteenth, created in 1997 by Ben Haith, the founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF), alludes to the red, white, and blue of the American flag, as well as the Lone Star of the Texas state flag.
Trump worked with rapper Ice Cube on the plan, who said Biden and the Democrats had pushed him off until after the election.

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