What is the Juneteenth Holiday?
For almost three decades, Al Edwards’ Juneteenth U.S.A. and the celebration of Emancipation Day “Juneteenth,” has emerged as primary symbols of African-American culture. In keeping with the principle of Juneteenth, the Juneteenth Coalition of San Antonio, Tx. endeavors to educate individuals on the chronology of Juneteenth in order to build an appreciation for life and freedom.
Juneteenth Celebrations were held informally for more than one-hundred years, however, in 1978, State Representative Al Edwards of Houston, Texas envisioned those blacks could have a formal celebration of emancipation from slavery. During his first year as a legislator, he authored the most meaningful piece of legislation for the black community that had ever existed in the history of Texas or any other state. He wrote and lobbied to get passed into law the bill making June 19th a legal state holiday, the first official black holiday in the United States. After numerous setbacks and hard work Representative Edwards pushed the bill through successful votes of the Texas House of Representatives and Senate within the last twenty-four hours of Texas 66th Legislative Session. At a memorable and historical ceremony on the grounds of Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas, hundreds of supporters witnessed the bills being signed into law by Governor William P. Clements on June 13, 1979. As a result of Representative Edwards’ e orts, the United States as a whole, celebrates Juneteenth as an official holiday.