The Eddie Mae Herron Center’s traditional community celebration of Juneteenth will not be held in 2020 amid COVID19 safety concerns. The Center has been closed since March to comply with Arkansas’ social distancing rules. We would love to be able to celebrate with our friends and neighbors in the community at Juneteenth, but it is not yet time to bring everyone together. So while we reflect on the meaning and importance of commemorating Juneteenth, unfortunately we must skip the public celebration this year.
What Exactly Is Juneteenth and Why Do We Celebrate It?
Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day,” “Jubilee Day,” or “Black Fourth of July”, commemorates June 19, 1865.
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863; it was intended, to free all the slaves. Texas was the most remote of the slave states, and the Emancipation Proclamation was not enforced there until after the Civil War had already ended. So emancipation did not really happen until 1865 when all of the slave-holding states were aware of the news.
Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas in 1980, and a number of other states subsequently followed suit. Even though Juneteenth is not a Federal holiday, the states of Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South California, Texas, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Washington D.C. celebrate this day.