More than a quarter of all Americans know ‘nothing’ about Juneteenth, poll finds


Top line

More than one in four Americans say they know “nothing at all” about Juneteenth, an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday that also found Democrats are more likely to be supportive and familiar. with Juneteenth as the Republicans.


When asked what they know about Juneteenth, 12% of all Americans say “a lot”, while 28% say they have no knowledge.

Almost 70% of black Americans report having at least some knowledge about vacations, compared to 31% of white Americans.

About half (49%) of all Americans said they think Juneteenth should be taught in public schools, with most of the rest (35%) not sure or unfamiliar with the subject.

A partisan divide exists, as 74% of Democrats support the inclusion of the subject in public school curricula, against only 17% of Republicans.

Indeed, 31% of Republicans say they are opposed to the event being taught in history classes.

The survey was conducted May 18-23 among a random sample of 3,572 American adults.

Key context

The name Juneteenth, a “June” and “nineteenth” coat rack, derives from events that took place in Texas on June 19, 1865. That day, more than two years after the president’s proclamation of emancipation Abraham Lincoln and about two months after Confederate General Robert E Lee visited Appomattox, Va. Union General Gordon Granger, Texas District Commander, issued General Order # 3, announcing the end of the civil war and the liberation of more than 250,000 blacks enslaved in Texas. The holiday is sometimes called Black Independence Day, Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day. In 1980, Texas became the first US state to make Juneteenth a public holiday. There are now 45 states that recognize the day as a public holiday, a day of celebration or commemoration.

Crucial quote

“The people of Texas are informed that, according to a proclamation of the executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This implies absolute equality of personal rights and property rights between the former masters and the slaves, and the link existing until now between them becomes that between the employer and the hired workforce ”, we read. in the text of the general ordinance, number 3. “The freed are invited to remain quietly in their present homes and to work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to assemble at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere. “

What to watch out for

This year, on June 19, Galveston will dedicate a 5,000 square foot mural, titled “Absolute Equality,” to the spot where General Granger issued the orders.

Large number

150,000: This is the approximate number of slaves transported to Texas by slave owners from Mississippi, Louisiana and surrounding areas after the capture of New Orleans in 1862, according to historian Leon Litwack, for escape the advancing Union army.


A push by lawmakers to make Juneteenth a federal holiday gained momentum last year amid mass protests against systemic racism and a nationwide reckoning on race in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The legislation introduced in 2020 received bipartisan support but was blocked in the Senate by Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. He argued that the new federal holiday would cost taxpayers millions of dollars. According to Tuesday’s Gallup poll, 35% of Americans say June 15 should be considered a national holiday, 25% say it shouldn’t, while a plurality (40%) are not sure.

Surprising fact

The last time Congress added to the official list of holidays was in November 1983, when President Ronald Reagan signed a bill designating the third Monday in January as Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Further reading

No more excuses – It’s time to declare June a federal holiday (UKTN)

FROM TEXAS; Major Orders from General Granger (NYT)

You’ve Been In The Storm So Long: The Consequences of Slavery (Leon Litwack)



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here