As of a few days ago, Juneteenth is now a federally recognized holiday in the United States. But what is Juneteenth? Juneteenth is a day that Black Americans, especially Black Americans living in Texas, have celebrated for a very long time. This day commemorates June 19, 1865 when Union troops made it to Galveston, Texas and announced that the upwards of 250,000 enslaved black people in Texas had been declared free by an executive decree. While many people today believed that the executive decree in the form of the Emancipation Proclamation, which was signed two and a half years earlier, instantly freed all slaves in the United States, this was clearly not the case. We recommend doing some personal research on the history of Juneteenth to dig deeper into why it took so long for enslaved Black Texans to be freed and what the “freedom” of black people really even looked like after 1/1/1863 or 6/19/1865.
While that is a quick history of Juneteenth we want to show you what June 19th looks like to Black Americans today. On June 19, 2021 there were celebrations, moments of reflection, gatherings, and mobilizing of Black Americans all throughout the country. The Mint team had the pleasure of taking part in one of these celebrations in Watts, Los Angeles, California. This day in Watts saw hundreds of people gather to fellowship on Success Avenue for a street fair that showcased many amazing black vendors, businesses, and creatives. Prior to the commencement of the fair, the celebration was also home to a special ceremony for MINT MAG’s very own Issue #11 Cover Feature Alum, Stix, in which receive the key to the city of Watts for his unparalleled community impact! So take a look throughout this Summer Edition issue of MINT MAG and you’ll catch some shots taken during this particular form of a Juneteenth celebration.
As you all look at what took place in Watts on this past Juneteenth or reflect on different forms of celebrations that happened throughout the country, we urge you to truly understand the importance of this day. The importance of this day is one that goes beyond just remembering what took place in 1865 but to also see there be a day in the future that all Black Americans and all people of color can truly feel safe and free in this country. We have come a long way since the first Juneteenth but we still have very far to go.