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Celebrate Juneteenth

Celebrating a little known holiday.

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Type: Article
Resource: GenWeekly
Prepared by: Melissa Slate
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I'm always on the lookout for facts to pass along or obscure moments in history to share with our readers. I believe that genealogy is more than just learning who our ancestors were, it is also about viewing their lives in the context in which they lived. Without these concepts, you cannot truly appreciate their character.

Therefore, as I was doing some research the other day I can across the term "celebrate Juneteenth." Those of you who already know what the day is may move to the head of the class. Being by nature quite inquisitive, I decided to let my unenlightened mind embark on a discovery to find out what was Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. The holiday first started in Galveston, Texas in 1865. The 19th day of June was picked to celebrate Emancipation in the U.S.

Today the celebration may last a day, a week, or a month in communities all across America and beyond. It is a time of renewal, friendship, and celebration with picnics, family reunions, and special events. In Texas, the day is now a legal state holiday.

For those like myself that had no clue what Juneteenth is you may want to check out the following web sites: http://www.juneteenth.com/index.html or http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ref/abouttx/juneteenth.html|.

For those of you researching African American Ancestry don't miss the opportunity to check out The USF Africana Heritage Project

The latter web page contains a treasure trove of links, helps, and resources for people attempting to trace their African American Heritage. Also, take a look at The Ohio Historical Society's "The African American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920". This web site is a collection of manuscripts, photos, and documents post-Emancipation. Ohio was a very important state in the slavery issue as many slaves escaped across the Ohio River to freedom.

Additionally, one other web site that may help you to appreciate Juneteenth is [[http://www.ohs.org/education/oregonhistory/historical_records/dspDocument.cfm?doc_ID=1AD3F617-AFF8-6631-A53458275381FF77|The Oregon History Project.

The longer that a person studies genealogy the more he or she learns that as a people we are not just one nationality, but that we have genetic and cultural links to many nations. And how much richer we are for it! So let's all join together to celebrate Juneteenth. And bring on the barbecue.

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2008.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.

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