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McDonald's Juneteenth Celebration

KJLH Juneteenth Moments Sponsored by McDonalds of Southern California

Tune into The Tammi Mac Show on June 18th from 3pm-6pm for a chance to answer one of the Juneteeth questions or Bonus Questions below to win American Express Juneteeth Cash. Learn Your History and Win!

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

When is Juneteenth celebrated?

Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19th each year.

What does the name "Juneteenth" refer to?

“Juneteenth” is a combination of the words “June” and “nineteenth.”

On June 19, what year did Union troops arrive in Galveston, Texas with the news that the more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in the states were free?


How many years after the Emancipation Proclamation did it take the news to get to Slaves in Texas that they were freed?

Two and a half years.

Who made the announcement in Galveston, Texas?

The announcement was made by Union General Gordon Granger.

Why did it take so long for the news of the Emancipation Proclamation to reach Texas?

The delay was due to the minimal number of Union troops in Texas to enforce the order during the Civil War.

(Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, it could not be implemented in places still under Confederate control. As a result, in the western most Confederate state of Texas, enslaved people would not be free until much later.)

(The news was deliberately withheld by enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. Federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the proclamation.)

When did Juneteenth become a state holiday in Texas?

Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas on January 1, 1980.

What year did Juneteenth become a federal holiday in the United States and who signed the bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday?

Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021. President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law on June 17.

How is Juneteenth typically celebrated?

Juneteenth is celebrated with community events, parades, festivals, and family gatherings.

Even though the Juneteenth flag is often associated with red, green, and black: the colors of the pan-African flag, what does the Juneteenth flag actually look like?

The Juneteenth flag has a blue and red stripe, a white star in the center, and an outline of a bursting star.

What drink is traditionally associated with Juneteenth?

Red Soda pop.

What foods are traditionally eaten on Juneteenth?

Traditional Juneteenth foods include barbecue, watermelon, red beans and desserts like red velvet cake.

Why are red foods and drinks significant on Juneteenth?

Red foods and drinks symbolize the resilience of African American culture and blood shed by enslaved people.

What is the significance of Juneteenth for African Americans and main message?

Juneteenth represents freedom, resilience, and the celebration of African American history and culture. And the main message of Juneteenth is the importance of remembering the struggle for freedom and equality for all people.

Bonus Questions / Facts

What is official name of the act Joe Biden signed into law on June 17, 2021?

Juneteenth National Independence Day Act.

Is Juneteenth celebrated only in the United States?

While Juneteenth originated in the United States, it is also celebrated in other countries around the world.

Juneteenth has been celebrated in the United States, and in Canada, Jamaica, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and other countries around the world. Juneteenth is celebrated, again, by Africans all over the world. You have Día de Los Negros in Mexico, for those African Americans who fled Texas and went into Mexico and you have it expressed in different ways all over.

Which Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery?

The 13th Amendment.

The 13th Amendment, along with the 14th and 15th, is one of the trio of Civil War amendments that greatly expanded the civil rights of Americans. The first of the three Reconstruction Amendments , The 13th Amendment ended slavery in all states; the 14th Amendment provided citizenship, due process and equal protection; and the 15th Amendment provided the opportunity to vote and hold office.

What was the last state to make Juneteenth an official state holiday?

South Dakota.

What is another name used for Juneteenth?

Jubilee Day / Emancipation Day (Texas) / Freedom Day / Black Independence Day.

California Fact

California joined the Union as a free state in 1850, with a state Constitution that expressly outlawed slavery. But two years later, the Legislature enacted its own version of the Fugitive Slave Act, which required law enforcement officers and ordinary white citizens to help slaveholders recapture escaped slaves and return them to the South.

How many slaves did the Emancipation Proclamation free?

3.5 million.

Even though it excluded states not in rebellion, as well as parts of Louisiana and Virginia under Union control, it still applied to more than 3.5 million of the 4 million enslaved people in the country.


On September 22, 1862, President Avraham Lincoln announced that the Emancipation Proclamation would go into effect on January 1, 1863, promising freedom to enslaved people in all of the rebellious parts of Southern states of the Confederacy including Texas. Enforcement of the Proclamation generally relied upon the advance of Union troops. Texas, as the most remote state of the former Confederacy, had seen an expansion of slavery because the presence of Union troops was low as the American Civil War ended; thus, the enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation had been slow and inconsistent there prior to General Granger’s order. Some slave owners waited until after that season’s harvest to tell slaves they were free, while others, did not tell them at all. Although this event commemorates the end of slavery, emancipation for the remaining enslaved in two Union border states, Delaware and Kentucky, would not come until December 6, 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified  furthermore, thousands of black slaves were not freed until after the Reconstruction Treaties of late 1866, when tribes such as the Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, and others were forced to sign new treaties that required them to free their slaves.


On June 19, 1865, nearly two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln emancipated enslaved Africans in America, Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas with news of freedom. The announcement was made by Union General Gordon Granger. General Granger delivered General Order No. 3, officially freeing the enslaved people in Texas. The order informed all Texans that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all enslaved people were free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere. More than 250,000 African Americans embraced freedom by executive decree in what became known as Juneteenth or Freedom Day. With the principles of self-determination, citizenship, and democracy magnifying their hopes and dreams, those Texans held fast to the promise of true liberty for all.

Early celebrations date back to 1866, at first involving church-centered community gatherings in Texas. They spread across the south amongst newly freed African American slaves and their descendants and became more commercialized in the 1920s and 1930s, often centering on a food festival. Participants in the Great Migration brought these celebrations to the rest of the country. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, these celebrations were eclipsed by the nonviolent determination to achieve civil rights, but grew in popularity again in the 1970s with a focus on African-American freedom and African American Arts. Beginning with Texas by proclamation in 1938, and by legislation in 1979, every U.S. state and the District of Columbia had formally recognized the holiday in some way. Early celebrations consisted of baseball, fishing, and rodeos. African Americans were often prohibited from using public facilities for their celebrations, so they were often held at churches or near water. Celebrations were characterized by elaborate large meals and people wearing their best clothing. Juneteenth celebrations often include lectures and exhibitions on African-American culture. The modern holiday places much emphasis on teaching about African-American heritage to help instill a sense of heritage and pride in black youth”. Celebrations are commonly accompanied by voter registration efforts, the performing of plays, and retelling stories. The holiday is also a celebration of soul food and other food with African-American influences. Barbeque is often the centerpiece of most Juneteenth celebrations. Traditions include public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation which promised freedom, singing traditional songs such as “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, and reading of works by noted African-American writers, such as Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou. Celebrations include picnics, rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, park parties, historical enactments, blues festivals, contests. Red food and drinks are traditional during the celebrations, including red velvet cake and strawberry soda, with red meant to represent resilience and joy.
In some cities, Black people were barred from using public parks because of state-sponsored segregation of facilities. Across parts of Texas, freed people pooled their funds to purchase land to hold their celebrations. The day was first celebrated in Austin in 1867 under the auspices of the Freedman’s Bureau, and it had been listed on a “calendar of public events” by 1872.That year, Black leaders in Texas raised money for the purchase of 10 acres of land, today known as Houston’s Emancipation Park, to celebrate Juneteenth. the observation was soon drawing thousands of attendees across Texas. n 1872, Richard Allen, Richard Brock, Jack Yates, and Elias Dibble together bought 10 acres of park land with $800 ($20346.67 in 2013 inflation-adjusted dollars).The men, led by Yates, were members of the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church and the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church. They did this to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. As the owners lacked funds to keep the park open year-round, it was originally solely used for Juneteenth celebrations. The park received its current name in 1872. The City of Houston received the park in 1916 as part of a donation; the city converted it into a municipal park in 1918.[ From 1922 to 1940 it was Houston’s sole park for African-Americans, since the city government had declared its parks racially segregated in 1922. Many concerts, musical performances, and Juneteenth celebrations were held in Emancipation Park. Seventy thousand people attended a “Juneteenth Jamboree” in Dallas, Texas in 1951. From 1940 through 1970, in the second wave of the Great Migration, more than five million Black people left Texas, Louisiana and other parts of the South for the North and the West Coast. As historian Isabel Wilkerson writes, “The people from Texas took Juneteenth Day to Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, and other places they went. In 1945, Juneteenth was introduced in San Francisco by a migrant from Texas, Wesley Johnson. As more Black people relocated out of Texas, they took their Juneteenth celebrations with them, and introduced these celebrations, across the nation. Emancipation Park and Emancipation Community Center are located at 3018 Emancipation Ave in the Third Ward area of Houston. It is the oldest park in Houston, and the oldest in Texas. In portions of the Jim Crow period it was the sole public park in the area available to African-Americans. In 2014, the Emancipation Park Conservancy formed to restore, manage, and enhance Emancipation Park. In 2017, $33.6 million worth of renovations and new developments were completed to modernize the park. Also, Juneteenth and other black-centric celebrations were brought back to the park.

Emancipation and Educating the Newly Freed

For the nearly four million newly freed, education was a crucial first step to becoming self-sufficient. Between 1861 and 1900, more than 90 institutions of higher education were founded for African Americans who could not otherwise attend predominantly white institutions because of segregation laws. These schools and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) became repositories of African American history and culture, safeguarding generations of memorabilia and documenting the rich culture of HBCU traditions. For the nearly four million, mostly illiterate and recently freed African Americans, education was a crucial first step, after emancipation, to becoming self-sufficient. Learning to read was not only desirable, it was often necessary to protect freedoms, find employment, and communicate with separated family members. Booker T. Washington, the founder of Tuskegee University, described the establishment of the first schools for Black adults and children as an act of “lifting the veil of ignorance” from recently freed communities who sought to receive the education that had been barred from them during slavery and enter into a new class of paid laborers.

Each year when most families celebrate Juneteenth, they celebrate with something “Red.”  Most notably red soda pop. Also included are watermelon, apples, red velvet cake or even red beans. Because of the holiday’s Southern roots, barbecue is a must. Crimson is “a symbol of ingenuity and resilience in bondage.

Folks bring these items without much thinking about their origin. In fact, the roots of the symbolic efficacy of the color red can be traced to West Africa, where it has been associated with strength, spirituality, life, and death. Furthermore, culinary historians, trace the color to certain foods that traveled to the Americas along with the Africans during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, such as hibiscus and the kola nut. So, this year at Juneteenth, as you take a long swallow from a cool red drink, remember the ancestors who sacrificed, remember the blood shed in the struggle, remember the collective strength of people of the African diaspora, and finally remember the spirituality and transcendent joy that enabled us to overcome. People come out in droves to celebrate the 4TH of July, which honors the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, with festive cookouts, fireworks, and red, white and blue desserts. Juneteenth is celebrated across the country among Black families and friends with festivals, parades, concerts, and more. (Jubilant annual celebrations also take place where it began, in Galveston, Texas.)

Juneteenth Flag In 1997, activist Ben Haith created the Juneteenth Flag, which was further refined by illustrator Lisa Jeanne Graf. In 2000. The star in the middle of the flag has a dual meaning. On June 19, 1865, Black slaves in Galveston, Texas, were informed of the Emancipation Proclamation. The star on the Juneteenth flag is meant to represent Texas as the Lone Star state, but also the freedom of enslaved citizens. “When people were escaping down the Underground Railroad … they used stars to navigate where they were at, when they were going up and down,” Haith said. With its dual meaning, it’s meant to represent the role that Texas plays in the history of Juneteenth, but also as another reminder that Black people are free. The star at the center represents Texas and the extension of freedom for all African Americans throughout the whole nation. The burst around the star represents a nova and the red curve represents a horizon, standing for a new era for African Americans. The red, white, and blue colors represent the American flag, which shows that African Americans and their enslaved ancestors are Americans, and the national belief in liberty and justice for all citizens. The flag’s appearance was reportedly “revised” in 2000, and the significant date “June 19, 1865” was added to the flag in 2007. Juneteenth is often associated with red, green, and black: the colors of the pan-African flag. However, those aren’t the colors of the Juneteenth flag. The banner shares the colors of the American flag: red, white, and blue. In the past, Haith has said it was a purposeful choice — a reminder that Black Americans descended from slaves are exactly that: American.

In the late 1970s, when the Texas Legislature declared Juneteenth a “holiday of significance … particularly to the blacks of Texas,“ it became the first state to establish Juneteenth as a state holiday. The bill passed through the Texas Legislature in 1979 and was officially made a state holiday on January 1, 1980. Before 2000, three more U.S. states officially observed the day, and over the next two decades it was recognized as an official observance in all states, except South Dakota, until becoming a federal holiday. Hawaii became the 49th state to formally recognize the day on June 16, 2021—the same day Congress voted to approve it as a national holiday. South Dakota was the only state to never legally recognized Juneteenth, that is, until February 2022, when Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill making Juneteenth an official state holiday. This came after repeated efforts by South Dakota Senate to pass a bill to make Juneteenth a working holiday, but it was blocked in the House by a vote of 31-36 in March 2021. The ancestors and elders kept this history going by acknowledging the day even when the larger society wouldn’t acknowledge it. Juneteenth didn’t become important because it became a national holiday, and it didn’t become important in 2020 after the unfortunate murder of George Floyd. It has always been important to the former enslaved and their descendants.

In 2021, Juneteenth was established as a federal holiday, opening it to symbolic and global interpretation and providing a better understanding of the evolution of our nation and its people. Juneteenth celebrations then, like now, recognize the ongoing fight for human rights and equality and are commemorated throughout the country. Today, Juneteenth celebrates African American resilience and achievement while aiding in the preservation of those historical narratives that promoted racial and personal advancement since Freedom Day. Activist Opal Lee, often referred to as the “grandmother of Juneteenth”, campaigned for decades to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. In 2016–17 at the age of 89, she led a symbolic walk from Fort Worth, Texas to Washington D.C. to advocate for the federal holiday. When it was officially made a federal holiday, she was standing beside President Joe Bidenas he signed the bill.

U.S. President Joe Biden signs the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law in the East Room of the White House on June 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Juneteenth holiday marks the end of slavery in the United States and the Juneteenth National Independence Day will become the 12th legal federal holiday — the first new one since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law in 1983. Inauguration Day, held on January 20 every four years following a quadrennial presidential election, is considered a paid holiday for federal employees in the Washington, D.C. area by the Office of Personnel Management. Therefore, Inauguration day is not considered a federal holiday in the United States equivalent to the eleven holidays that include Juneteenth.

President Biden said the same sentiment at the White House signing for Juneteenth in 2021: “Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments. They don’t ignore those moments of the past. They embrace them. Great nations don’t walk away. We come to terms with the mistakes we made. And in remembering those moments, we begin to heal and grow stronger.”

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