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Juneteenth history: The most important holiday Americans are not celebrating

Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19 each year and is one of the most important holidays that Americans are not celebrating. To be quite honest, most people have no idea what the day commemorates so here is a brief history lesson and the reason why this holiday should be much larger. Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of slaves on June 19, 1865 and according to Slate on Thursday, it is essential the Black American Independence Day.

Members of the Fugitives Motorcycle Club ride into the Juneteenth, Black Independence Day celebrations at Nichol Park on June 19, 2004 in Richmond California. The holiday is celebrated in June because slaves in Texas and several other states did not learn
Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images

Even though Juneteenth is the oldest and largest celebration of the emancipation of slaves, one might think such a holiday should receive national attention. It is a huge day in American history despite slavery becoming illegal more than two years earlier. After the Emancipation Proclamation, slavery was made illegal on January 1, 1963 but news traveled slowly and it wasn't until June 19, 1865 that all states had been made aware of the law change.

There are a few theories as to why news of the Emancipation Proclamation moved so slowly. Some blame the slave owners for intentionally keeping quiet for as long as possible. There are also stories that plantation owners were allowed one last cotton harvest before the new law would be enforced. In any case, due to the lack of technology and massive rebellion against the northern United States, the law wasn't actually enforced until the June 19 date that we celebrate.

So why isn't Juneteenth a national holiday? The United States celebrates many holidays in remembrance of important historical events. Even if it wasn't a nationally recognized holiday, why is Cinco De Mayo (which isn't even the true Mexican Independence Day) a more celebrated holiday in the United States?

The emancipation of slaves was a huge and very important piece of United States history and should never be forgotten. It is unfortunate that such an important date in history isn't given much more attention. Do you think this holiday should be given more attention and possibly even celebrated as a national holiday? Leave a comment to tell us why or why not.

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