With ‘Juneteenth’ now a federal holiday, US retailers have used the opportunity to hawk products marking black freedom. However, activists say that some of these products miss the mark, while others are racially offensive.
President Joe Biden officially recognized June 19 – Juneteenth – as a federal holiday last year. Once a regional celebration unique to Texas, the date has been recognized in some capacity by 46 states since the 1980s, and commemorates the day – June 19, 1865 – that the last black slaves in the south learned of their freedom after the Civil War. Biden’s 2021 announcement came hours after the US Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit filed by former slaves in Africa against food giant Nestle.
While nearly three-quarters of black Americans support the holiday, only 45% of Hispanics and 38% of whites are on board, a Gallup poll found last month. A survey last year found that only 7% of Republican voters supported making Juneteenth a national holiday, compared to 57% of Democrats.