Skip to main content

Celebrating Juneteenth: A Flag Representing Freedom

Friday, June 19th, 2020
MRicci
Categories:

History

The Juneteenth Flag was created by former NJOF Massachusetts Juneteenth State Director and Founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF), Ben Haith, in 1997. The flag underwent a revision in the year 2000 resulting in its present modern day design. In 2007, the phrase the "June 19, 1865" was added to the flag to place the historic date that Juneteenth occurred in Galveston, Texas.

Haith spearheaded the historic first Juneteenth Flag Raising Ceremony in Boston, Massachusetts in 2000. The tradition of raising of the Juneteenth Flag at the Dillaway Thomas House at the Roxbury Heritage Park on the "19th of June" continues to this day.

Juneteenth Flag Raising Ceremonies takes place throughout the month of June in communities across the nation, including Chicago IL, Boston, MA, Las Vegas NV, Memphis, TN, Galveston, TX and Omaha, NE.

Design

The flag is the brainchild of activist Ben Haith, founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF). Haith created the flag in 1997 with the help of collaborators, and Boston-based illustrator Lisa Jeanne Graf brought their vision to life.

The Star

The white star in the center of the flag has a dual meaning, Haith said.

For one, it represents Texas, the Lone Star State. It was in Galveston in 1865 where Union soldiers informed the country's last remaining enslaved people that, under the Emancipation Proclamation issued two years earlier, they were free.

But the star also goes beyond Texas, representing the freedom of African Americans in all 50 states.

The Burst

The bursting outline around the star is inspired by a nova, a term that astronomers use to mean a new star.

On the Juneteenth flag, this represents a new beginning for the African Americans of Galveston and throughout the land.

The Arc

The curve that extends across the width of the flag represents a new horizon: the opportunities and promise that lay ahead for black Americans.

The Colors

The red, white and blue represents the American flag, a reminder that slaves and their descendants were and are Americans.

June 19, 1865, represents the day that enslaved black people in Galveston, Texas, became Americans under the law.

 

(CNN, National Juneteenth Observation Foundation)

Notices:

Welcome back to the Y! Click here to become a new membermake a reservation, or schedule a tour.

Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday.