Juneteenth Poll: Most Americans Know Little or Nothing About Holiday

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Politics|Most Americans Know Little oregon Nothing About Juneteenth, Poll Finds


Academics judge that increases successful the fig of Americans acquainted with the holiday, which commemorates the extremity of slavery successful the U.S., whitethorn beryllium a effect of past summer’s protests against racism.

A mural successful  Galveston, Texas, connected  a gathering  located wherever  Gen. Gordon Granger issued the orders that resulted successful  the state  of much  than 250,000 enslaved Black radical   successful  Texas.
Credit...Montinique Monroe for The New York Times

Isabella Grullón Paz

June 16, 2021

More than 60 percent of Americans cognize “nothing astatine all” oregon lone “a small bit” astir Juneteenth, the vacation celebrating the extremity of slavery successful the United States, according to a caller Gallup survey.

The 37 percent of respondents who reported having “a lot” oregon “some” cognition of the vacation whitethorn beryllium an summation from erstwhile years, pollsters and academics believe, reflecting increasing consciousness aft past summer’s protests against racism and constabulary brutality.

The survey, the results of which were released connected Tuesday, recovered that astir fractional supported teaching the past of Juneteenth successful nationalist schools. There was little enactment — 35 percent — for making June 19 a national holiday, but lone a 4th of respondents said they were opposed to the idea.

On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously approved a bill that would marque Juneteenth a ineligible nationalist holiday. The House passed the bill by a ballot of 415 to 14 the adjacent day.

Also known arsenic Emancipation Day, Black Independence Day oregon Jubilee Day, Juneteenth celebrates the time successful 1865 erstwhile Gordon Granger, a Union general, informed enslaved African Americans successful Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War had ended and that they were free.

The canvass is the archetypal Gallup has conducted astir Juneteenth. It was organized by the Gallup Center connected Black Voices arsenic portion of a continuing effort to recognize the nationalist cognition of and enactment for the broader inclusion of Black past successful American past a twelvemonth aft a heavy radical reckoning successful the country, Camille Lloyd, the center’s director, said.

The study, which was conducted from May 18 to 23 connected a random illustration of 3,572 adults who self-administered web surveys, recovered that results slanted astir contention and age. Sixty-nine percent of Black respondents said they had a batch oregon immoderate cognition of Juneteenth compared with 31 percent of achromatic respondents. Younger adults were besides much apt to cognize astir Juneteenth than older adults.

The borderline of sampling mistake for a illustration of this size is positive oregon minus 2 percent points, according to Gallup.

Reading betwixt the numbers, the Gallup Center connected Black Voices recovered that “awareness is simply a captious piece” successful whether a idiosyncratic is supportive of celebrating and teaching Juneteenth, and the absorption should beryllium connected maintaining and cultivating that awareness, Ms. Lloyd said.

Juneteenth has been celebrated by African Americans since the 19th century, and its broader popularity has waxed and waned passim American history, according to Brenda Elaine Stevenson, a historiographer specializing successful African American past and the past of the Southern United States.

“We spot spikes successful Juneteenth popularity astatine the aforesaid clip we spot absorption connected Black beingness and the presumption of Black radical successful American society,” Dr. Stevenson said.

She said that successful summation to past summer’s protests, the pandemic’s disproportionate effect connected Black Americans and the caller combative debates connected the survey of race successful nationalist schools and universities had contributed to a broader involvement not lone successful learning astir the acquisition of African Americans, but successful uncovering ways to observe it arsenic well.

“Juneteenth has present had a rebirth successful presumption of radical focusing connected it, celebrating it, wanting to cognize what it is and wanting to cognize what it signifies and however it relates to this agelong arc of radical disagreement and progress, oregon not, successful our country,” Dr. Stevenson said.

Conversations astir Juneteenth person besides go important arsenic the state reckons with however to commemorate its history, said Alaina Morgan, an adjunct prof of past astatine the University of Southern California.

During protests past summer, implicit 160 Confederate symbols were removed from nationalist spaces oregon renamed aft the decease of George Floyd, much than successful immoderate different year.

“It’s incumbent connected our representatives to propulsion this thought of the commemoration due to the fact that it truly stands for the state of each Americans,” Professor Morgan said. What a vacation says is “that this is thing that we attraction astir arsenic a radical and arsenic a federation and we privation to instrumentality a infinitesimal to halt and person a time of reflection.”

In a connection aft the transition of the Senate bill, Chuck Schumer, the bulk leader, called the ballot to marque Juneteenth a national vacation “a large measurement guardant successful recognizing the wrongs of the past.”

“But we indispensable proceed to enactment to guarantee adjacent justness and fulfill the committedness of the Emancipation Proclamation and our Constitution,” helium added.

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