Juneteenth National Freedom Day
June 19th is Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. The celebration began on June 19, 1865 when enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, finally learned they were free. The Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863 was to have freed enslaved Africans, but its execution depended on the Union Army winning the Civil War. The surrender of the Confederacy took place more than two years later in April 1865. Word spread slowly throughout the South with the last of the enslaved learning they were free on June 19 that year. The holiday received its name by combining June and 19 and is sometimes referred to as Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day.
At Peoples, and across the Essential Utilities 10-state footprint, we recognize the importance of knowing American history—the good and the bad—just as we value and respect the diversity of the United States. This Juneteenth, we encourage you to learn more about the country’s little-known history and celebrate this important landmark in our nation's journey to freedom for all.
From coast to coast, there will be Juneteenth celebrations across the United States. For Western Pennsylvanians, the Juneteenth & Black Music Festival will be taking place from June 18 - 20 in Mellon Park. Stop by for music, food, kids activities, speakers, softball games and more! Plus, on Saturday, June 19th at 3pm, you can join the attempt to set the Guinness Book of World Records' longest Sout Train Dance Line in honor of the late, great Don Cornelius. Email WPAJuneteenth@yahoo.com to register to participate!