In Iowa, it’s been an official holiday since 2002. The deputy director of the African-American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids, LaNisha Cassell says there are still questions about what it means.
“A lot of people may have heard of it and still don’t know what it represents. It’s the oldest celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States,” Cassell. Cassell describes Juneteenth as the Fourth of July for African-Americans.
She says she tries to teach everyone — including members of her own family — about what the celebration represents.
“I’m trying to teach my children who are school age about Juneteenth and what it means, so they appreciate what they have now, because it is very far removed from their life today,” Cassell says. Iowa City will use Juneteenth to launch the new Trailblazer Awards to honor local civil rights activists. Other Iowa cities plan parades and family outings to recognize the day.
Thanks to Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio