This weekend we celebrate two holidays. Father’s Day and Juneteenth on June 19th. Let’s take a look at each.
Father’s Day :
According to Verify, many people may not know that Spokane, Washington is the birthplace of Father’s Day. Spokane resident Sonora Smart Dodd, whose father raised her and her five siblings after their mother died in childbirth, started Father’s Day in 1910. Dodd is said to have had the idea for the holiday while listening to a Methodist church sermon, that was delivered on Mother’s Day in 1909. (according to Encyclopedia Britannica) Religious leaders and the local YMCA signed a petition started by Dodd to create a day honoring fathers. Then, on June 19, 1910, Spokane’s mayor and Washington state’s governor signed proclamations to celebrate the first Father’s Day. Dodd’s father was born in June according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
According to the city of Spokane, Dodd advocated for the following 60 years to have Father’s Day become a national holiday. President Lyndon B. Johnson finally signed a proclamation in 1966 calling for the third Sunday in June to be recognized as Father’s Day. Six years later, in 1972, President Richard Nixon made Father’s Day a permanent national holiday.
It is the oldest known holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the US. Early celebrations date to 1866, at first involving church-centered community gatherings in Texas. They spread across the South and became more commercialized in the 1920s and 1930s, often centering on a food festival. Participants in the Great Migration out of the South carried their celebrations to other parts of the country. In 1945, Juneteenth was introduced in San Francisco by a migrant from Texas, Wesley Johnson. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, these celebrations were eclipsed by the nonviolent determination to achieve civil rights but grew in popularity again in the 1970s with a focus on African American freedom and African-American arts. Beginning with Texas by proclamation in 1938, and by legislation in 1979, each U.S. state and the District of Columbia have formally recognized the holiday in some way. With its adoption in certain parts of Mexico, the holiday became an international holiday. The day was first recognized as a federal holiday in June 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law.
Celebratory traditions often include public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, singing traditional songs such as "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Lift Every Voice and Sing", and the reading of works by noted African-American writers, such as Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou. Some Juneteenth celebrations also include rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, park parties, historical reenactments, and Miss Juneteenth contests. In 2021, Juneteenth became the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was adopted in 1983.