Juneteenth is our newest federal holiday, the first new one in almost 40 years. Read on for the inside story…and on the efforts to make a Juneteenth stamp by the USPS.
“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 freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” —General Orders, Number 3; Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston, June 19, 1865
These words issued by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, era, according to historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., helped establish the basis for “Juneteenth” (“June” plus “nineteenth”), the most popular annual celebration of emancipation from slavery in the U.S., observed in Black communities for 155 years prior to becoming an official United States Federal Holiday in 2021.
A Juneteenth Stamp?
A change.org petition to mark Juneteenth with its own stamp (read it here) has been launched with a suggested design. In July 2, 2020, the USPS and the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee was asked to review and approve a submitted Juneteenth stamp proposal to the CSAC through the Stamp Selection Process without delay.
A letter dated July 2, 2020 has been submitted to USPS and Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee proposing a stamp in honor of the day.
Want to learn more? Here are some resources:
Photo: An Emancipation Day celebration band, June 19, 1900; courtesy of the University of North Texas Libraries, Wikimedia Commons.