Today we REPRESENT our freedom and our future, while celebrating Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day!”

President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth a federal holiday in 2021, following the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the summer of 2020, which sparked a national reckoning on racial injustice and inequality.

However, the significance of the holiday and its celebrations have been known and felt by Black America for generations.

As we recognize today as way more than just a “day off,” let’s take a look at the history of Juneteenth.

Two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, a Union officer named Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 to issue General Order Number 3, informing the people of Texas that all enslaved people were now free.

Months prior, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered in Appomattox, Virginia, which effectively end the Civil War.

To celebrate the newly founded “Juneteenth Independence Day,” also called “Emancipation Day,” the Black community participated in activities such as family gatherings and praying together. Eventually, those who had once been enslaved, along with their families, would travel to Galveston to reflect on their journeys.

While some family gatherings still take place in today, with food playing a significant role, cities like Atlanta and Washington, often holds larger celebrations that include parades and festivals attended by locals, and companies.

Texas was the first state to declare Juneteenth a holiday in 1980. The day is now observed in some capacity in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

This Juneteenth is a chance for many to rekindle their relationships with loved ones and engage in hobbies they used to enjoy before the year 1923. You can join in the excitement in person or online as communities form to celebrate the day.

How will you celebrate and honor Juneteenth this year? Let us know down below.

TV One will celebrate Juneteenth with a slate of original movies that shine a light on the Black experience throughout time. Join us as we look back on some compelling films and reflect on our past, embrace our present, and look toward our future.

Here’s the movie lineup on Monday, June 19th:

Behind the Movement – 7p/6c

Our film Behind the Movement, starring Meta Golding, Loretta Divine, Isaiah Washington, Roger Guenveur Smith is a distinctive and fast-paced account of how Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a momentous event in American history.

Color of Courage – 9p/8c

Color of Courage is a classic!

Directed by Lee Rose, Color of Courage focuses on Mac McGhee (played by Roger Guenveur Smith), his wife Minnie (played by Lynn Whitfield), and their two sons move into a neighborhood that is totally white.

They are greeted by Anna Sipes (played by Linda Hamilton), their next-door neighbor, and the two quickly become close friends. However, the other neighbors, including Anna’s husband Benjamin (Bruce Greenwood), aren’t too happy about sharing a neighborhood with a black family and organize to have the McGhees evicted.

Do the Right Thing – 11:30p/10:30c

Lastly, this Spike Lee joint will be featured on our Juneteenth slate of films.

Do the Right Thing perfectly depicts everyone’s hatred and bigotry blazes and intensifies until it explodes into violence on a street in BedStuy on the hottest day of the year.

How will you be celebrating Juneteenth this year? Let us know your plans below. 

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