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NEWS | June 5, 2024

JB Charleston celebrates Juneteenth

By Staff Sgt. James E. Harris III, 628 Air Base Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. – Juneteenth is an annual event commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. This celebration marks a significant moment in American history, highlighting the freedom of enslaved African Americans, which came over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863.

The Emancipation Proclamation declared all enslaved people in Confederate states to be free, but it wasn't until June 19, 1865, when Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, that the remaining enslaved people were freed. This day, known as Juneteenth, commemorates the moment when the last enslaved African Americans learned of their freedom​.

Following the first Juneteenth, many newly freed people left their previous areas in search of family members who had been separated during slavery, a period referred to as the "Great Scatter." Initially, Juneteenth celebrations were suppressed during the Jim Crow era but saw a revival during the Civil Rights Movement. The "Poor People's Campaign" in 1968 was strategically timed to coincide with Juneteenth, helping to revive the celebration​.

On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a federally recognized holiday. This legislation established Juneteenth as the 11th American federal holiday and the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was designated in 1983​​.

On June 13, 2024, Joint Base Charleston will host its first Juneteenth celebration to honor the past, celebrate progress, and build on the promise of freedom for all. The keynote speaker will be U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Terrence Adams, Deputy Principal Cyber Advisor to the Secretary of Defense and Senior Military Advisor for Cyber Policy.

This event aims to recognize the historical significance of Juneteenth, celebrate the strides made toward equality, and inspire continued efforts toward freedom and justice for all.

We extend a welcome as we come together for our first Juneteenth celebration. Our event will be held at JB Charleston's Education Auditorium at 10:00 a.m. on June 13.