CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Sunday marks Juneteenth, a federal holiday that marks the true end of slavery in the United States. On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves of the Confederate states. But it took two-and-a-half years for Lincoln's proclamation to reach Texas and its quarter of a million slaves.
"It reminds us of the long-standing struggle for black freedom in the United States," Dr. Crystal Eddins, Assistant Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at UNC Charlotte, said.
Congress created the federal holiday in June 2021, following a year of civil unrest across the country.
"I think that it's hard to make an argument that it would have been a holiday without a lot of unrest," Dr. Aman Nadhiri, Associate Professor of English and Arabic at Johnson C. Smith University, said.
The celebration isn't new within the African-American community. Juneteenth has long been celebrated by communities across the country.
Eddins said the new federal holiday offers all Americans a chance to reflect on the meaning of the day.
"Reflection and learning is a great way for many black Americans, as well as white Americans, to begin to really think about what our country is, who we are as a nation, and how the histories of slavery, you know, continue to live with us," Eddins said.
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