Forget the 4th of July! Juneteenth is the day that should be celebrated by all as a pivotal point in America’s freedom story.

One-hundred-and-fifty-five years ago this year, the last of the enslaved black population in Galveston, Texas received word that they were officially free. Despite the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, which technically ended slavery on paper, there were still 250,000 enslaved people in Texas alone who had yet to learn of their newfound freed status until June 19, 1865. Thus, Juneteenth was born.

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As the United States’ current racial reckoning continues, companies like Nike, Twitter and Target are declaring Juneteenth a company holiday, all the while celebrities like Pharrell also push for its remembrance.

But trust that The Root ain’t new to this Juneteenth life. Check out this video above from 2017 where former The Root producer and staff writer Danielle Young breaks down more information on Juneteenth and shares why now more than ever it is time that our independence day receives recognition as a federal holiday.

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