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What is Juneteenth and why is it relevant today?

'I think it is absolutely vital for African Americans to have a nationally recognized date that recognizes our freedom.'

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Although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863 it did not end slavery everywhere. Juneteenth celebrates the day enslaved people were officially freed from bondage in 1865. And yet despite the significant role that day played in the lives of so many people, it has remained widely unknown and untaught.

Until now. As demonstrations sparked by the inhumane killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks continue to organize around the world and support for Black Lives Matter reaches unprecedented popularity, acknowledgment of Juneteenth has also emerged like never before.

Why is that?

To provide historical context and shed some light on what we can learn from the brave men and women who fought for freedom, we reached out to public historian Angela Thorpe, who is the Director of the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission.

Learn what happened on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, how history is repeating itself in the most inspiring way and why she says, "it is absolutely vital for African Americans to have a nationally recognized date that recognizes our freedom."