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Greater Essex County District School Board
Building Tomorrow Together Every Learner, Every Day
Juneteenth 2020

Juneteenth 2020 image.jpgJune 19,1865, Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day, is considered the official end of slavery in the United States. Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation went into effect January 1, 1863.  However it was not until June 19, 1865, more than two years later, that General Gordon Granger and his Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and any enslaved people were freed by executive order.  Enslaved peoples in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas were not not freed until this date. June 19 has long been celebrated in Black communities both in Canada and the United States.

Sadly, more than one hundred years after the final enslaved people were freed, the history and significance of Juneteenth remains largely unknown. This day is typically celebrated with prayer and religious services, speeches, educational events, festivals, barbecues and family gatherings, with food, music, and dancing. It has been celebrated since 1865, but Texas was the first state to declare it a holiday in 1980. 

This year with global Black Lives Matter and Anti-Black Racism protests, Juneteenth has added significance. Let us join together to honour and recognize the experiences of our brothers and sisters and be part of the positive change we need in society.

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