It was just two years ago that President Joe Biden signed Juneteenth into law as a national holiday, but the Black community and its allies have been celebrating the revolutionary day long before 2020.
For those who have been living under a culture-crushing rock, Juneteenth commemorates the official end of slavery in the United States, which took place on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas. Although enslaved people had technically been freed when President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 – two-and-a-half years prior to Juneteenth – it wasn’t until the summer of 1865 that Major General Granger rode to Texas to inform the state’s Black citizens that they were (and had been) free people. Celebrated every June 19 since, the holiday represents the Black community’s long-overdue social and political freedom in America.
Using their massive platforms to amplify the importance of the holiday, many celebrities have taken to sharing their Juneteenth traditions on social media to inspire others to learn about and celebrate the culturally-significant day. Reflection, education, resilience, liberation, and joy are integral aspects of the holiday, each used as lenses to celebrate the message of freedom brought on Juneteenth and to honor the many Black folks who were key figures in abolishing slavery and pushing for June 19 to become a federal holiday.
From celebrating through music to amplifying the voices of prominent Black activists, here’s how Oprah, Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, and other famous figures honor Juneteenth. Find a tradition that speaks to you and weave it into your own life as a means of celebration this June 19 – and every June 19 that follows.