Juneteenth (June-Nineteenth), also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day or Jubilee Day, commemorates the freedom of enslaved Black people in 1865 when Union soldiers reached Galveston, Texas, declaring the Civil War to be over and the end of slavery in the U.S.
Juneteenth was declared an official government holiday in 2020, but the day has been celebrated in the African American community for many years. As the holiday approaches, we want to reflect on the significance of this day and why it’s worth celebrating.
Juneteenth represents more than the end of slavery in the United States, for Black people it also represents resistance, resilience, and Black Joy. This symbolism is also represented in the colors associated with the holiday.
The Juneteenth Flag
The flag was created by activist “Boston Ben” Bean Haith, founder of the national Juneteenth Celebration Foundation and illustrator Lisa Graf was instrumental in bringing the design to life.
“The Juneteenth flags represent the history, and freedom the American Slaves and their descendants. The design of the Juneteenth flag depicts a bursting new star on the horizon. The star represents a new freedom, a new people, a new star. The red, white and blue colors communicate that the American Slaves, and their descendants were all Americans,” said Lisa Graf.
Juneteenth is traditionally a barbecue holiday, where families and friends will get together and grill. Many foods, desserts and beverages dawn the holiday’s iconic red that symbolizes the bloodshed by enslaved ancestors due to the transatlantic slave trade.
Here are some popular menu items:
- Red drink (Sorrel)
- Red strawberry soda
- Barbecued and smoked meats
- Red rice
- Black eyed peas
- Fried chicken
- Collard greens
- Red velvet cake
- Pound cake
- Tea cakes
As always, we encourage you to enjoy healthy alternatives to these popular dishes! We can’t wait to see what you whip up. So, tell us – how will you be celebrating this year?