For the first time in its history, the County of Hudson this morning raised a flag commemorating Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those people, known as Negros at the time and now referred to as African Americans, who had been enslaved in the southern United States that had formed the Confederacy during the mid-1800s. Originating in Galveston, Texas, the day is celebrated annually in the United States on June 19. With June 19 falling on Saturday, the County chose to raise the flag this morning in front of the Justice Brennan Courthouse on Newark Avenue in Jersey City.
Juneteenth is not a national holiday in the United States, but it became a state holiday in Texas in 1980. Many other states have since declared Juneteenth a state holiday as well.
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”
Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery, it captured the hearts of millions of Americans and fundamentally changed the character of the Civil War. It announced the acceptance of black men into the Union Army and Navy. By the time the war was over, 200,000 black soldiers and sailors had fought for the Union and for freedom.