Juneteenth celebrates the date that Union General Gordon Granger formally announced the emancipation of the last enslaved African-Americans in the United States on June 19, 1865. It’s an important holiday because it represents freedom and unity among African Americans, many of whom are still affected by the history of slavery to this day. Juneteenth is celebrated in every state and cities all over the world. Still, it’s also an opportunity to assess how we can make our country stronger in terms of Black entrepreneurship. Fresh Heritage is proud to celebrate Juneteenth, as it is an important part of our own story as a Black-owned business.
Learn About The Roots Of Juneteenth
You’ve probably heard of Independence Day, but have you heard of Juneteenth? The latter is often called Freedom Day or Emancipation Day and observed every June 19th. This day commemorates Abraham Lincoln signing a Proclamation ending slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865 – well after his Emancipation Proclamation did so for states still in rebellion against his administration.
It wasn’t until two years later that all slaves were freed. This momentous event marked Juneteenth as a symbolic holiday for African Americans to celebrate their freedom from slavery. While we celebrate our freedom today, it’s important to understand how we got here—and what we can do to keep moving forward as entrepreneurs.
Why It Is Important For Entrepreneurs To Recognize This Day
Though not nearly as popular as other historically relevant days such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day or Malcolm X’s birthday, Juneteenth should be recognized by every entrepreneur with interest in Black entrepreneurship for its impact on starting businesses of their own. The day is an important reminder that many enslaved people left plantations and began working independently once they were freed from bondage.
In fact, according to research conducted by Dr. Joy DeGruy-Leary, only 20 percent of former enslaved Americans stayed on plantations after emancipation; 80 percent started their own farms or businesses. This makes Juneteenth particularly relevant for entrepreneurs looking to start their own business. Whether you are just getting started with your business plan or have already launched your company, you can learn a lot about what it takes to start your own business from those who came before us—and one way to do so is by celebrating Juneteenth.
What Else Can We Do To Celebrate And Honor Our History?
At a time when Black-owned businesses have never been more profitable or influential, celebrating Black history goes beyond acknowledging and embracing historical figures. It’s about building on that momentum to strengthen our community.
One way to do that is by showing appreciation for Black-owned businesses in your community, supporting their growth and advancing their growth through purchasing power and other forms of support—like inviting them to participate in any events you may be holding. For example, if you are planning an event to celebrate Juneteenth and want to invite local Black-owned businesses, reach out! A simple tweet or Facebook post can go a long way toward connecting local business owners with potential customers. The same holds true if you want to start shopping at Black-owned stores: ask around! Reach out directly via social media (or even email) if possible.
How Will This Affect Future Generations?
Juneteenth has a lot of potential to impact the next generation. Children are more impressionable than adults, and they often take their cues from their parents. If you show them that Juneteenth is something to celebrate, they’ll likely adopt that mindset themselves. Plus, celebrating Juneteenth shows the younger generation that their history and contributions are valued by society, not just within the Black community.
Celebrating Juneteenth is an essential part of creating Black entrepreneurs in the future. It can also serve as a reminder for adults that many young people will be looking up to them for guidance and knowledge about what it means to be Black in America. It's our responsibility to pass down positive messages about our culture so we can continue fostering strong values within generations of Black children who come after us.