The United States labels the nineteenth of June as Black Independence Day. On this day, the celebrate the end of slavery in the country. The call this day with the name ‘Juneteenth’ – a combination of the words June and nineteen. All but four states celebrate the special day. Pennsylvania is the last to recognize Juneteenth.
It’s Not Yet A National Holiday
Black Independence Day began in Texas. On June 19, 1865, Union Major General, Gordon Granger, rode to Galveston, Texas. There, he announced to the slaves the emancipation of their slavery. Hence, Americans call it Emancipation Day. Two years later, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
African-Americans celebrate Black Independence Day much like the Fourth of July. They hold parties, picnics and gatherings together with friends and family. Texas first recognized it as a state holiday in 1980 but the people started celebrating it since Emancipation Day in 1865.
The National Juneteenth Observance Foundation is a Mississippi-based organization that works to make Black Independence Day a national holiday. For several years, they worked on this recognition by the U.S. government. The Senate passed a resolution last year. It sits in the House waiting for approval.
Why Hawaii Does Not Celebrate
Hawaii stands among the four states that do not celebrate Black Independence Day. With it are Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. Each of the states has its own reason not to celebrate Juneteenth. The state of Hawaii poses the most obvious reasons.
Many Hawaiians do not want to identify themselves as Americans. The see conflict between their native Hawaiian identity and American culture. An unpleasant history triggers this Hawaiian indifference. For some Hawaiians, American culture is an unsettling hodge-podge of many cultures and nationalities.
Hawaiians take pride in their thousand-year-old culture. They celebrate their independence day on November 28. Americans previously recognised it as a National Holiday. It tells its own story.