Is it illegal to teach about Juneteenth in some states?

Thursday, June 24, 2021
By Austin Tannenbaum

While limits on classroom discussion of critical race theory—a controversial academic discipline that examines American history through the lens of anti-Black racism—have been proposed in 22 states and signed into law in five, teaching about Juneteenth is not explicitly illegal in any state.

Juneteenth commemorates the first enforcement of emancipation. It dates back to June 19, 1865, when federal troops entered Texas to enforce the abolition of slavery mandated by the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. The 13th amendment, which abolished slavery everywhere in the U.S., was ratified on December 6, 1865.

In 1979, Texas became the first state to make June 19 an official state holiday, with several other states following suit over the years. In June 2021, Congress passed a resolution establishing Juneteenth as a holiday for federal employees. President Biden signed it into law on June 17.

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