Juneteenth is a day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. Some refer to is as the Black 4th of July. President Donald Trump is seeking credit for making Juneteenth, also known as ‘Freedom Day’ very famous. He has rescheduled his first rally that was initially going to be held on Juneteenth to avoid further scrutinization.
What We Know:
- Trump told The Wall Street Journal that “nobody has ever heard of it” the holiday before he brought it up. “I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous,” Trump said in reference to the rally date in an interview published Thursday. “It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.”
- Juneteenth is the oldest regular US celebration of the end of slavery. It commemorates June 19, 1865, the day that Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and told a group of enslaved African-Americans that the Civil War had ended and they had been freed. That event took place more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Trump’s campaign rally was scheduled to take place on the holiday in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This sparked backlash due to being the site of a race riot 99 years ago, during which Black Wall Street, in Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood, was burned down.
- Major companies have recognized Juneteenth as a national holiday in the wake of racial inequality following George Floyd’s death. Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia mark June 19 as a state holiday or observance, but it still isn’t a federal holiday.
- Trump, who has few advisers in the White House who are Black, told the Journal he “polled many people around him, none of whom had heard of Juneteenth”.
- He also didn’t seem to know that his White House had been putting out public statements commemorating the day throughout his tenure in office. “Oh, really? We put out a statement? The Trump White House put out a statement?” Trump said, adding that that was “good”.
- Trump said that it was his Black secret service agent who informed him about the meaning of Juneteenth. When the rally was still scheduled to take place on the holiday, Trump told Fox News: “The fact that I’m having a rally on that day — you can really think about that very positively as a celebration. Because a rally to me is a celebration. It’s an interesting date. It wasn’t done for that reason, but it’s an interesting date.”
Trump said he’s looking forward to getting back to the campaign trail, though health officials have warned large events could pose the risk of the spread of COVID-19.