Understanding Juneteenth

“Understanding Juneteenth” presented by NBCU Academy explains the history behind this holiday celebrated on June 19th. NBC News digital reporter Maya Eaglin and MSNBC correspondent Trymaine Lee break down how Juneteenth became a national holiday, its importance within American history and how they personally commemorate the celebration.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union Army General Gordon Granger proclaimed freedom from slavery in the state of Texas, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, answering calls from Black activists. 

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NBCU Academy’s “Understanding” series breaks down the history, context and nuances behind cultural observances and days of remembrance throughout the year.