BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Thursday, Juneteenth became recognized as a federal holiday and for many Black Americans it’s history in the making.
In 1865, Union Major General Gordon Granger announced the end of slavery in Galveston, Texas.
The announcement came two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.
“This is American History, you know, this is American History,” said Maria Harmon.
Inside the White House, surrounded by Black Congressional Leaders, President Joe Biden made it official.
“Emancipation of enslaved Black Americans didn’t mark the end of America’s work to deliver on the promise of equality. It only marked the beginning. To honor the true meaning of Juneteenth we have to continue toward that promise because we have not gotten there yet,” said Biden.
Thursday, The East Baton Rouge School District became the first district in the state to declare Juneteenth a district-wide holiday.
“The idea is that we show an appreciation for culture and diversity across our school district,” said Board Member Dadrius Lanus.
He said, not only should the day be celebrated but students should know its history.
“It’s vitally important that we get back to teaching our students the importance of their history and culture inside of our classrooms, more specifically get to a place where we can start to observe those things and understand what they truly mean to everyone,” said Lanus.
Harmon believes there are ways to teach all cultures about this history.
“On a philosophical level, on a historical level, on a creative writing level. For us to do a deep dive in history lessons on what Juneteenth really means for our African American children to really come to understand the sacrifices that were made by our ancestors,” said Harmon.