Democratic Representative Danny K. Davis believes Juneteenth is an incredibly important holiday for Americans to observe.
“This business of Abraham Lincoln ending slavery was not as simple as that,” he explained. “It ended slavery for people whose states were in rebellion. But actually, the news didn’t get down to Texas until June 19th.”
Emancipation Proclamation had been issued in January 1863, but information about it didn’t spread to those living in more rural areas until much later. So many African Americans didn’t know that slavery had been abolished for over a year.
“I’m in favor of it being a national holiday,” Davis said, in reference to Juneteenth. “Not necessarily to the extent that people take off work. Everything shuts down. Doesn’t have to be the same as Christmas. But it can still be a national holiday and it could be used to promote activity, education, cultural enlightenment.”
Holidays ensure that we recognize or acknowledge important moments throughout history, and Davis believes much of the history surrounding the abolition of slavery has not be observed enough. But celebrating Juneteenth more widely would help teach our country more about what it took to end slavery, and celebrate the individuals who helped make it happen.