Commemoration of the end of slavery
USA celebrate “Juneteenth” for the first time

On June 19, 1865, the release of all slaves in the United States is announced. More than 150 years later, President Biden is making the day a national holiday. Now the whole country is celebrating and reminding of the end of a devastating time.

In the USA, the end of slavery more than 150 years ago has been commemorated for the first time with the new national holiday “Juneteenth”. All over the country, from New York on the east coast to Los Angeles on the west coast, hundreds of events took place, in addition to rallies and lectures, barbecues and concerts.

The new holiday was long overdue, said 68-year-old African American Cheryl Green in the New York borough of Brooklyn, where a bust of the African American George Floyd, who was killed in a police operation, was unveiled on Saturday. “It’s good that people understand what happened.” City clerk Farah Louis said she didn’t learn about Juneteenth until high school.

In the capital Washington, hundreds of people celebrated and danced on Black Lives Matter Square near the White House. Kevin Blanks, 29, said racism is “still very much anchored in the DNA of this country”. Danique McGuire, 51, said the fight for full equality would go on for a long time.

US President Joe Biden signed a law on Thursday to make June 19 a national holiday. On June 19, 1865 – two months after the southern states surrendered in the American Civil War – a northern general in Galveston, Texas, announced the release of all slaves.

“Juneteenth”, a box word made up of the English words for June and 19, has been a public holiday in some states. The killing of George Floyd by a white policeman in Minneapolis last year sparked a new nationwide debate on racism and the legacy of slavery in the United States.