While Juneteenth was only recognized as a national holiday last year, the celebration of Emancipation Day dates back 150 years. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, two months after the Civil War ended and two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Juneteenth became a national holiday in 2021; the first time the federal government had designated a new national holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was approved in 1983.
To mark the holiday this Sunday, we invite you to reflect on this article written in 2020 by Fr. Matthew Hawkins from the Diocese of Pittsburgh: Toward a Catholic Understanding of the Phrase “Black Lives Matter”.