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League of Women Voters celebrate Juneteenth

By Staff | Jun 26, 2015

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is an American holiday honoring African American heritage and celebrated by people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds. It commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery. Celebrated on June 19, the term is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, and is recognized as a state holiday in 43 states of the nation.

It is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States and has actually been an African American tradition since the late 19th Century. Economic and cultural forces caused a decline in Juneteenth celebrations beginning in the early 20th Century. The Depression forced many blacks off of farms and into the cities to find work. In these urban environments, employers were less eager to grant leaves to celebrate this date. July 4th was the already established Independence holiday, and a rise in patriotism among black Americans steered more toward this celebration

Jefferson County’s NAACP sponsored a celebration of Juneteenth early, with a picnic June 13. The League of Women Voters of Jefferson County participated with a voter registration booth.

The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization that works to encourage informed and active participation in the democratic process through voter registration and education and the promotion of fair, open, and accessible government. The League of Women Voters of Jefferson County is engaged in local, state and national issues of importance to our community. For more information, visit lwv-jcwv.org/.