DC actually already had an Emancipation Day as a public holiday on April 16 to celebrate the DC Compensated Emancipation Act, which freed DC slaves nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation. Other places have also had their own emancipation day celebrations to celebrate emancipation in their own states.I think Juneteenth just caught on because it had the best developed traditions and the best name recognition. A lot of black Texans moved elsewhere and took the holiday with them, from there it just took on a life of its own. It’s the most organically developed of all these slavery emancipation holidays.I lived in Oklahoma as a kid. I learned about Juneteenth when I moved to Texas as a Funny I Am The Youngest Twin, Rules Don’t Apply To Me T-Shirt . At that time (late 80s/early 90s), Juneteenth was just a Texas thing. I don’t know that it was ever celebrated with BBQs and things, but it was marked and we learned about the significance in school. I moved to the DC area two years ago. I was surprised to discover Juneteenth had spread outside of Texas.
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My dad (black, almost 60) was born in Alabama(?) but grew up in Detroit and lived in the Southwest/Midwest for the Funny I Am The Youngest Twin, Rules Don’t Apply To Me T-Shirt majority of his life. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, had a very diverse upbringing.Found out about Juneteenth this week. Maybe I knew there was some sort of celebration but never really knew the name for it. (I’m Ukrainian living in Michigan)Neither he nor I, nor any of my extended black family had heard of it until about 2-3 years ago.That’s because it’s mostly a Texas holiday. It’s being touted as a celebration of the end of slavery but it specifically involved slaves from Texas in the Galveston area who were some of the last to find out that slavery had been abolished.It’s actually really annoying how fast the origins have been pushed under the radar. This will one of those things where the “true story” doesn’t become part of the public consciousness until 20+ years after the fact.
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