National Juneteenth Observance Foundation
Celebration of Freedom
History of the Modern Juneteenth Movement
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is an American holiday honoring African American heritage and celebrated by people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds. It commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U. S. State of Texas in 1865. Celebrated on June 19, the term is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, and is recognized as a state holiday in 45 states of the United States.
Most recently in 1994, the era of the "Modern Juneteenth Movement" began when a group of Juneteenth leaders from across the country gathered in New Orleans, Louisiana, at Christian Unity Baptist Church, Rev. Dwight Webster, Pastor, to work for greater national recognition of Juneteenth. The historic meeting was convened by Rev. John Mosley, Director of the New Orleans Juneteenth Freedom Celebration.
Several national Juneteenth organizations were ignited from this historic gathering beginning with the National Association of Juneteenth Lineage (NAJL), followed by the National Juneteenth Celebration Association (NJCA), the National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC) and the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF).
Shortly prior to this gathering, Juneteenth America, Inc., (JAI) was founded by John Thompson, who organized the first National Juneteenth Convention & Expo, and the National Juneteenth Celebraton Foundation (NJCF) founded by Ben Haith, the creator of the National Juneteenth Flag.
In 1997, through the leadership of Lula Briggs Galloway, President of the NAJL and Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Chairman of the NAJL, the U.S. congress officially passed historic legislation recognizing Juneteenth as "Juneteenth Independence Day" in America.
The Rev. Dr. Myers returned to Washington, DC in the year 2000, as Founder & Chairman of the NJOF, to establish the annual WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance and to began the campaign to establish Juneteenth Independence Day as a National Day of Observance and an official state holiday or state holiday observance in all 50 states and U.S. territories.
As of 2017, 45 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to officially recognize Juneteenth. The annual Congressional Juneteenth Reception, hosted by members of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, was also established as a part of the WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance.
The Rev. Dr. Myers, as Founder & Chairman of the NJCLC, also established the annual National Day of Reconciliation and Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement on the "18th of June" (www.NationalDayofReconciliation.com) and the National Juneteenth Black Holocaust "Maafa" Memorial Service, which later became the National Juneteenth Maafa Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony, as a part of the WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance.
On the "19th of June," Juneteenth, 2000, Rev. Dr. Myers stood with Congressman Tony Hall (D-OH) as historic Apology For Slavery legislation was announced at the U.S. Capitol during the 1st National Day of Reconciliation & Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement.
Rev. Dr. Myers also established the World Day of Reconciliation and Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement on the "20th of August" (www.WorldDayofReconciliation.com), in Hampton, VA, in 2010.
As the National Juneteenth Jazz Artist, Rev. Dr. Myers also established "June Is Black Music Month!" - CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH JAZZ - "Preserving Our African American Jazz Legacy!" and "June Is Juneteenth African American Jazz Legacy Month!", with a series of Junetenth Jazz Heritage & Arts Festivals, concerts, jam sessions and lectures throughout the country.