Juneteenth poll: Most Americans know little or nothing about vacations

More than 60% of Americans know “nothing at all” or only “a little bit” about Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States, according to a new Gallup poll.

The 37% of those polled who said they had “a lot” or “some” knowledge of the holiday may be an increase from previous years, pollsters and academics believe, reflecting a growing awareness after the protests of the last summer against racism and police brutality.

The survey, the results of which were released Tuesday, found that almost half supported the teaching of Juneteenth history in public schools. There was less support – 35% – for making June 19 a federal holiday, but only a quarter of those polled said they were against the idea.

On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously approved a bill that would make June 17 a statutory holiday. The House adopted the bill by 415 votes to 14 the next day.

Also known as Emancipation Day, Black Independence Day or Jubilee Day, Juneteenth celebrates the day in 1865 when Gordon Granger, a Union general, briefed enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War was over and they were free.

The poll is the first Gallup has conducted in Juneteenth. It was hosted by the Gallup Center on Black Voices as part of an ongoing effort to understand public perception and support for the broader inclusion of black history in American history a year after a profound racial calculation in the country, Camille Lloyd, the center director, said.

The study, which was conducted May 18-23 on a random sample of 3,572 adults who self-administered online surveys, found that results varied depending on race and age. Sixty-nine percent of black respondents said they knew a lot or somewhat about Juneteenth, compared to 31 percent of white respondents. Younger adults were also more likely to be familiar with Juneteenth than older adults.

The margin of sampling error for a sample of this size is plus or minus two percentage points, according to Gallup.

Reading between the numbers, the Gallup Center on Black Voices found that “awareness is a critical part” of whether a person supports the celebration and teaching of Juneteenth, and the emphasis should be on sustaining and cultivating that awareness, Ms. Lloyd said.

Juneteenth has been celebrated by African Americans since the 19th century, and its wider popularity has increased and decreased throughout American history, according to Brenda Elaine Stevenson, a historian specializing in African American history and history. from the southern United States.

“We are seeing spikes in the popularity of Juneteenth as we focus on black lives and the position of blacks in American society,” said Dr. Stevenson.

She said in addition to the protests last summer, the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on black Americans and recent combative debates over the study of race in public schools and universities have contributed to an interest wider not only for learning about the African-American experience, but for finding ways to celebrate it as well.

“Juneteenth has now experienced a renaissance in terms of people focusing on him, celebrating him, wanting to know what it is and wanting to know what he means and how he relates to this long arc of racial division and progress,” or not, in our country, ”said Dr Stevenson.

Conversations about Juneteenth have also become important as the country considers how to commemorate its history, said Alaina Morgan, assistant professor of history at the University of Southern California.

During the protests last summer, more than 160 Confederate symbols were removed from public spaces or renamed after the death of George Floyd, more than any other year.

“It is incumbent on our representatives to promote this idea of ​​commemoration because it truly represents the freedom of all Americans,” said Professor Morgan. What a holiday says is “it’s something that is close to our hearts as a people and as a nation and we want to take a moment to stop and have a day of reflection.”

In a statement after the Senate bill was passed, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the vote to make Juneteenth a federal holiday “a big step forward in acknowledging the wrongs of the past.”

“But we must continue to work to ensure equal justice and keep the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation and our Constitution,” he added.

About Linda Jackson

Check Also

Tennessee poll watchers see ‘democracy at work’ – Tennessee Lookout

When voters turn up at the polls across the state tomorrow, they will be able …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.