Juneteenth Flag: The Meaning Behind The Colors and Symbols

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With decorations for Juneteenth popping up across the country, you might find yourself wondering what it is all about. Juneteenth is a holiday that falls on June 19th and was created to acknowledge the day slavery was ended in the US. The Juneteenth flag originated in 1997, although the modern version of the flag was first flown in 2000. 

The symbols and colors on the flag have unique meanings for this particular day. The Juneteenth flag is a wonderful part of American history with its own story to tell, which holds significance for Americans everywhere.  

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The History of Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a holiday that is also known by a few other names, such as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. It acknowledges when slavery was finally abolished across America and the impact that had on our country and its people.

Texas was the first state to acknowledge the holiday in 1980, and people have been celebrating the day for over thirty years.

Despite being around for well over a decade, the Juneteenth flag was not designed until 1997. It was created by Ben Haith, who also founded the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation, along with an illustrator, Lisa Jeanne Graf. Ben Haith is an activist, also known as Boston Ben, on occasion. He has been firm in his beliefs since the 1980s and is still taking strides as an activist today.

In 2020 many states raised the Juneteenth flag over their capital buildings to acknowledge and celebrate the holiday. However, Juneteenth was only made a federal holiday in 2021 by President Joe Biden. While some Americans celebrate Juneteenth as a family at home, more celebrative events have begun taking place across the country. Festivals and parades are common for Juneteenth to recognize the day with enthusiasm.


Behind the Symbolism 

The symbols on the Juneteenth flag are sparse to emphasize their importance. The five-pointed star positioned in the centre has a double meaning, first representing Texas and the importance of the place where Juneteenth originated and was first acknowledged. The star also symbolizes all the states of America and how slaves became free across the country.

The nova that is positioned around the five-pointed star acts as a symbol of new beginnings. As a nova is also known as a new star, this represents all the new beginnings that were given to people of color across the nation when slavery was abolished.

In 2006 a date was added to the flag, June 19 1865. This date highlights the moment when US forces arrived in Texas bringing the message of the end of slavery and making sure the new proclamation was adhered to by all residents.


The Juneteenth Colors

The Juneteenth flag is red, white and blue. The flag is colored this way to highlight how closely linked its overall meaning is to our country. With these colors, it makes clear that slaves and their descendants have been, and always will be, part of America. 

While the colors hold a unified meaning, the position of the red rising onto the flag has a special meaning as well. As the red on the flag arcs across the surface, it represents a new horizon for black Americans and the dawning of a new day for them. This simple addition also represents the future they have to look forward to now.

The Juneteenth colors and placement were designed to highlight the importance of remembering America’s history. By emphasizing the importance of acknowledging American people of color and those enslaved, it also represents the need to continue fighting and improve the lives of all our people regardless of skin color.


The Significance of Juneteenth 

Juneteenth is an important day for Americans to remember. Celebrating not only the end of slavery but the continued efforts for equality across America for all its citizens. 

The symbols of the Juneteenth flag represent the suffering American people of color have experienced while realizing the hope that still stands on the horizon for all Americans.

By acknowledging Juneteenth and learning more about our history as Americans, we make celebrating our past worthwhile. 

While Juneteenth acts as a milestone moment for Americans, the flag represents both the past and future impacts we can have on our fellow citizens and why our affect on others always matters.

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