The legacy of Black Americans is often overlooked by the country at large, which is why July 4th — otherwise known as Independence Day — does not mark “our” freedom.
So every year we celebrate our own Independence Day, known as “Juneteenth,” to commemorate the day Union Officer General Gordon Granger issued an order to slave masters in Galveston, Texas to free enslaved Africans. Juneteenth marks the day in Texas in 1865 when 250,000 enslaved people were liberated, letting freedom finally ring. It became a motivating and stabilizing commemoration for Black Texans (and Black Americans everywhere) experiencing uncertainties associated with their newfound freedom and full integration into American society.
The significance of Juneteenth is relevant now more than ever, because our “freedom” is represented in our influence on many communities across the nation — from architecture, music, art and food. Today, 46 states and the District of Columbia officially recognize and commemorate Juneteenth, though celebrations this year will look a lot different.Despite our new normal, take some time to celebrate joy amidst the storm. From iconic Black history museums to historic monuments to delicious soul food, here are a few places you can celebrate Juneteenth and learn about Black heritage in the U.S.