(AP) — A year after President Joe Biden signed legislation making June 19 the nation’s 12th federal holiday, people across the U.S. gathered at events filled with music, food and fireworks. The celebrations yesterday also included an emphasis on learning about history and addressing racial disparities. Many Black people celebrated Juneteenth just as they did before any formal recognition. Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, marks the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to order freedom for enslaved people of the state, two months after the Confederacy surrendered in the Civil War. In a statement, Biden said, “Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments, they confront them to grow stronger.” A Gallup Poll found that Americans are more familiar with Juneteenth than they were last year, with 59% saying they knew “a lot” or “some” about the holiday compared with 37% a year ago in May.
Photo: FILE – In this June 19, 2020, photograph, a man carries a child on his shoulders as they march near Central Park during a Juneteenth celebration, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)