Usher: Why it’s so important that Juneteenth become a national holiday

At the 2015 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, I wore a T-shirt that caught a lot of people’s attention. The design was simple. The words “July Fourth” were crossed out and under them, one word was written: “Juneteenth.” I wore the shirt because, for many years, I celebrated the Fourth of July without a true understanding that the date of independence for our people, black people, is actually June 19, 1865: the day that the news of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached some of the last people in America still held in bondage…


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