If one reality has become painfully clear in recent weeks, it’s that there’s a lot of history they don’t teach you in school. As demonstrations and protests calling for an end to systemic racism and police brutality continue nationwide, many people are being confronted with an uncomfortable truth: Most history books tend to leave out key information when it isn’t centered in or celebrating whiteness. The Black community has been especially targeted in terms of historical erasure, which might explain why many non-Black folks have probably Googled, “What is Juneteenth?” at some point in the last week or so.
For those who haven’t already turned to the internet for answers, the abbreviated backstory of Juneteenth is that it’s the real Emancipation Day. Even though President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation back in April 1862, the Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy was still raging on. It wouldn’t be until June 19, 1865, when Union troops arrived in Texas and freed enslaved people, that slavery was truly abolished in the United States. A year later, the first Juneteenth celebration took place, with newly freed Black people commemorating the occasion with food, music, and merriment.
2020 will mark the 155th anniversary of this historic event, and although nearly all states currently recognize Juneteenth to some degree, it still isn’t considered a national holiday. With awareness about racial injustice at an all-time high among non-Blacks, many people are calling for Juneteenth to finally get its due as a federal holiday. Until then, many companies — including Bustle Digital Group — are taking the initiative by giving their employees the day off to reflect on its historical significance and deepen their understanding of allyship. Other companies are paying employees time and a half for working on this day.
The best ways to celebrate Juneteenth? Shop from Black businesses, read books by Black authors, watch Black films, and get food from that new Black-owned restaurant you’ve been wanting to check out.
And in the meantime, check out these Juneteenth-inspired shirts to add to your wardrobe.
Available in nine colors, this shirt is ultra versatile and will pair seamlessly with your favorite worn-in jeans.
You’ll be a walking history lesson in this white tee, which breaks down the critical difference between Independence Day and Juneteenth.
This vintage-inspired black tee can be dressed up with a flowy maxi skirt or kept casual with your go-to leggings.
Say hello to your new summer staple: a cozy graphic T-shirt dress that can be thrown on at a moment’s notice.
This slightly retro, sports-inspired tee is a classic that you can easily wear year-round.
Available in white and red, this T-shirt features a bold raised fist graphic coupled with a powerful call to action: celebrate freedom.
This shirt comes in eight different colors, and the screen printed image incorporates key words that make Juneteenth such a significant holiday.
This design may be minimalist, but its message is as resounding as ever.
This creative, striking graphic is a celebration of cultural pride — past, present, and future.
This minimalist tee incorporates the Pan African flag colors against a solid background for a striking and powerful contrast.