What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. It’s also known as Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, and Freedom Day. Although Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was issued Jan. 1 1863, it was not always enforced, which left many enslaved people in bondage for another two and a half years in the State of Texas, the most remote state of the former Confederacy. When the news arrived on June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger announced General Order No. 3, the freedom proclamation, which was read to the people of Texas, effectively freeing those still enslaved.
The first Juneteenth celebrations were initially centered on the church and mostly took place in Texas. Over time, celebrating the holiday became less centralized to Texas and shifted to a more food-centric holiday. Red foods are often featured at Juneteenth potlucks, red is used as a symbol of resilience. Bright red hot links, watermelon, hibiscus tea, red pop, strawberry pie, and red velvet cake are all commonly found at Juneteenth celebrations.
In 2021, Juneteenth became a federally recognized holiday. Before that, in Dec. 2020, staff at Seward Co-op voted to swap July 4 as a time and a half holiday in favor of Juneteenth. Our stores also close early, at 8 p.m.