There’s extra to the patriotic colours and stars than you could suppose.
First celebrated in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, Juneteenth (also referred to as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day or Jubilee Day) celebrates the liberty of enslaved folks following the U.S. Civil Struggle—and two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
The vacation has been celebrated by African American communities all through the nation for the previous 157 years. From rodeos and parades to group festivals andcelebrating with purple foods and drinks, Juneteenth celebrations are available in many types.
Some of the enduring emblems commemorating the day that tens of hundreds of enslaved folks in Galveston first realized that they have been free is the Juneteenth flag. The colours and symbols emblazoned on the flag have deep which means that transcend aesthetics.
Activist Ben Haith, the founding father of the Nationwide Juneteenth Celebration Basis (NJCF), created the Juneteenth flag in 1997 in collaboration with Verlene Hines, Azim and Eliot Des. Their work subsequently cemented the vacation within the minds of all Individuals and solidified the flag as an timeless image of liberty and freedom for African Individuals.
What Do the Colours and Symbols of the Juneteenth Flag Signify?
The flag’s colours — purple, white and blue — have been intentionally chosen by Haith to show that even all through enslavement, African Individuals have been at all times American. Some consultants say the purple on the flag additionally represents the blood shed on the journey to freedom. And the flag’s design is simply as symbolic.
- The curved floor on the flag represents a brand new horizon and chance for African Individuals.
- The flag is emblazoned with a star, a callback to the U.S. flag demonstrating Black persons are free in all 50 states and a nod to Texas, “The Lone Star State.”
- The star is surrounded by a burst, which represents new alternatives that lie forward for Black folks. African American historical past is American historical past, and the flag reminds us of simply that.
- The date “June 19, 1865” was added in 2004 so nobody would ever overlook what the flag stood for.
It’s additionally widespread to see the purple, black and inexperienced Pan-African flag at Juneteenth celebrations. In accordance with the Pan-African Alliance, the three colours signify the blood, soil and prosperity of Africa and its folks.
Whereas Juneteenth is a celebration of Black freedom, the vacation is not only for the Black group, explains historian and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and High-quality Arts on the College of Massachusetts Amherst, Barbara Krauthamer, Ph.D.
“Juneteenth provides folks a chance to mirror on what it means to stay in a rustic and in communities that say we worth particular person rights, we worth freedom, we worth freedom of the press and freedom of speech,” says Dr. Krauthamer. “And if we worth that, we have to worth that for everyone.”
Juneteenth, which grew to become a federal vacation final 12 months, supplies a chance for all Individuals to place Black tradition on the heart of their perspective for a day and to consider the richness and complexity of African American historical past: each the historical past of slavery and emancipation and the historical past of how Black folks not solely survived slavery however constructed and developed thriving cultures and communities that endured.
As we glance again in reverence and rejoice the current, it’s simply as essential to look ahead to think about a extra inclusive and equitable world for us all. For Dr. Krauthamer, this brilliant future steeped in freedom lies with our youth.
“Freedom seems like having the chance and talent to ask questions, to pursue information and to advocate for change,” she says. “Having the ability to ship my youngsters to high school and know they’re able to ask questions and never be dismissed due to what they seem like: that’s what freedom seems like now.”