The Park Piedmont team will be off this coming Monday, June 19, in commemoration of Juneteenth National Independence Day. Juneteenth is a federal and public U.S. holiday on which federal banks are closed. Stock and bond markets will be closed as well. We will return on Tuesday, June 20.
Juneteenth is at once a long-running holiday and one whose name and meaning may still be new-ish – so we want to take a moment to share a bit about the holiday’s history, along with other resources if you’d like to learn more.
Alternatively referred to as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Jubilee Day, Juneteenth is a holiday that takes place each June 19 to recognize the emancipation and freedom of the African Americans enslaved before June 19, 1865.
The Juneteenth celebration began with the freed slaves of Galveston, Texas. While the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in the South in January 1863, in reality it was practically unenforceable any place not under control of the Union Army. Until the Civil War ended in 1865, this was the case across large swaths of the country.
Even then, it took an additional two months for news of the war’s end and emancipation to reach all enslaved Americans. It was on June 19, 1865, when Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops arrived at Galveston, sharing the news that the war was over and the enslaved were now free.
During his visit to Galveston, Granger delivered General Order No. 3, which stated:
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”
The following year (1866), the now-free African Americans started celebrating Juneteenth in Galveston.
Juneteenth observance has continued ever since, although widespread Jim Crow laws enforcing racial segregation compelled the celebrations to take place in private (non-public) spaces well into the mid-20th century.
Park Piedmont Advisors is a firm that has long valued financial independence and serving our clients’ best interests with thoughtfulness and integrity. As we approach our work, we are hopeful about the future and, at the same time, clear-eyed about the widespread injustices of the past. We are mindful of the continuing racial wealth gap that originates from the institution of American slavery, and the myriad ways that a lengthy history of legally-sanctioned segregation has contributed to ongoing inequality. As individuals and as a firm, we welcome the opportunity to celebrate Juneteenth and take seriously our ongoing responsibility to be informed and engaged citizens.
We invite you to learn more about the historical, economic, and cultural legacy of Juneteenth through some of the following resources:
- The National Museum of African American History and Culture
- CBS News interview with Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
- “The History and Meaning of Juneteenth” – New York Times The Daily podcast interview with Dr. Daina Ramey Berry, a professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin
- On Juneteenth by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Harvard Prof. Annette Gordon-Reed