Feature, International

The Hard Work That Paid Off-Juneteenth Summary

by Laniqua Brow, contributing writer

 

(STX, June 20, 2024). To start with significant historical and cultural consequences, the bill designating Juneteenth as a federal holiday in the United States was passed in 2021, marking a landmark legislative milestone. Examining how prevailing cognitive frameworks, cultural attitudes, and historical narratives impacted legislators, the public, and the larger socio-political environment is necessary to comprehend the function of schema theory in this process.

The theory of schemas, which was first introduced by psychologist Jean Piaget and subsequently elaborated upon by cognitive scientists like Bartlett and Anderson, suggests that people categorize information into mental models, or schemas, to make sense of novel situations and direct their actions. 

These schemas shape views and behaviors by drawing on individual experiences, cultural norms, and society narratives. 

Given that Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday, a few significant ideas probably had a significant impact on public opinion and the legislative process. Therefore, historical schema which includes a society’s collective memory and comprehension of important historical occurrences will impact society. 

Juneteenth honors June 19, 1865, the day that, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to declare the abolition of slavery. 

This incident, which represented the delayed implementation of freedom for African Americans held in slavery in Texas and reflected larger emancipation efforts, was a turning point in American history.

In fact, Juneteenth began as a small-town celebration in Texas and has since spread across the country to honor African American history and emancipation. 

The Juneteenth historical framework places a strong emphasis on themes of emancipation, tenacity, and the continuous fight for equality. 

This schema emphasized the historical significance and cultural relevance of Juneteenth within the larger American narrative of freedom and civil rights, which was crucial in raising awareness and promoting campaigning for the day’s recognition as a federal holiday. 

Opal Lee (second from the left,next to VP Kamla Harris, looks on as President Joe Biden signs official document in 2021 granting June 19 a national holiday. (photo credit AP).

Legislative schema are the frameworks that legislators use to prioritize and interpret various policy options. 

To make Juneteenth a federal holiday, legislative procedures had to be followed, bipartisan support had to be obtained, and sociopolitical dynamics had to be addressed. 

This effort’s legislative framework considered political viability, public opinion, historical precedence, and symbolic value.

With resounding support from both parties, Congress passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in June 2021, highlighting the legislative framework that gave priority to recognizing and celebrating Juneteenth as a significant turning point in American history. 

The act signaled a change in legislative priorities driven by changing social norms and a growing understanding of the value of historical justice and diversity.

Along with the larger cultural attitudes, convictions, and principles that influence public conversation and opinion are referred to as social schema. The public’s perception and support for the Juneteenth holiday laws were greatly influenced by social schema prior to its approval. 

Protests towards racial injustice, the Black Lives Matter movement, and increased conversations about structural racism highlighted societal norms that stressed how critical it is to acknowledge and address America’s past of slavery and its continuing effects. 

These changes in society affected public opinion and helped create a conducive atmosphere for Juneteenth legislation.  According to the cognitive dissonance theory, people become uncomfortable when faced with contradicting information or beliefs. 

With Juneteenth now officially recognized as a federal holiday, people who had little, or no prior knowledge of the celebration may experience cognitive dissonance. However, people’s schemas may have changed to better reflect the historical facts and cultural significance of Juneteenth because of public discourse and educational initiatives highlighting the day’s historical significance. 

The public’s view and preexisting schemas are strongly reinforced by the media. 

The public’s view and preexisting schemas are strongly reinforced by the media. 

Media coverage was crucial in increasing public awareness, teaching the public about Juneteenth’s history, and situating the issue within a larger socio-political framework prior to the law establishing the holiday. The historical schema surrounding Juneteenth was reinforced by positive media representation and coverage, which portrayed the day as one of celebration, introspection, and remembering. Nevertheless, President Abraham Lincoln issued this proclamation during the Civil War, in 1863, declaring all enslaved people in Confederate-held territory to be freed. More than two years later, Texas was the last southern state to receive word that the war had ended and Black enslaved people were free.

These events collectively contributed to the ongoing recognition and commemoration of the emancipation of black slaves in the United States

These events collectively contributed to the ongoing recognition and commemoration of the emancipation of enslaved Africans in the United States, leading to various petitions and initiatives aimed at honoring this crucial historical milestone. 


Works Cited 

Carmel, Julia. “

Opal Lee’s Juneteenth Vision Is Becoming Reality.” The New York Times, 18 June 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/06/18/style/opal-lee-juneteenth.html. 

Vaughan, Ashley. “‘grandmother of Juneteenth’ Celebrates Federal Holiday – but There Is More Work to Do. Here’s How You Can Help.” CNN, Cable News Network, 6 June 2022, edition.cnn.com/2021/06/17/us/iyw-juneteenth-activist-opal-lee/index.html. ; “U.S. Slavery: Timeline, Figures & Abolition.” History.Com, A&E Television Networks, www.history.com/topics/black-history/slavery. ; TodayShow. “Opal Lee, 94, Was a Driving Force behind Juneteenth Becoming a Federal Holiday.” TODAY.Com, TODAY, www.today.com/news/opal-lee-94-was-driving-force-behind-juneteenth-becoming-federal-t222492.lWhat Is Juneteenth? Emancipation History with Photos – Washington Post, www.washingtonpost.com/history/interactive/2021/juneteenth-history-texas-emancipation-photos/. 

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14 Comments

  1. Amera N Salem says:

    Hey Leniqua, great job showing how Juneteenth became a national holiday. Your article explains well how laws and people’s ideas about history made this happen. Opal Lee’s story was really inspiring in your article, showing how hard work can change things. It’s a good reminder of why Juneteenth matters in American history and rights. Good job!

  2. Lia Garvey says:

    Leniqua Brown masterfully captures Opal Lee’s unwavering spirit and tireless activism in her pursuit of making Juneteenth a national holiday. Through vivid storytelling and heartfelt reflections, the article not only informs but deeply inspires. The portrayal of Lee’s resilience and dedication is both compelling and moving, making the reader feel a personal connection to her mission.

  3. Malika Maynard says:

    The historical importance of June 19, 1865, as a watershed moment in American history is a good fact to remember. Her exploration of how this date signifies the delayed but critical emancipation of enslaved African Americans in Texas underscores its enduring significance in the ongoing struggle for equality and justice. It’s a compelling reminder of the complexities and impact of historical events on shaping our societal values and legislative frameworks.

  4. Leonela Mendez says:

    Leniqua Brown made an excellent point about the crucial role the media played in shaping the public’s understanding and perception of Juneteenth. The media’s coverage was instrumental in not only raising awareness about the historical significance of the event, but also in framing it within a broader socio-political context.

    The media’s influence is particularly powerful when it comes to reinforcing pre-existing schemas and narratives. In the case of Juneteenth, the positive and celebratory media representation helped solidify the holiday’s status as a symbolic moment of emancipation and liberation, rather than simply a historical footnote.

  5. Jedaya George says:

    This was very well written! You defined each term well and I like the background information you gave. I completely agree that without the help of media, Juneteenth would not have been as recognized as it is. After so many years, it is great to see Juneteenth getting recognition from all over the country

  6. Carly Krupa says:

    Reading this article about Juneteenth and its newfound recognition as a federal holiday has been both enlightening and thought provoking . The discussion around schemas and cognitive dissonance provides a considerable lenses over that to comprehend the deep affect of this historic instant .
    For years, the historical narrative many of us have been familiar with may have excluded or minimized the importance of Juneteenth. As this day gains greater recognition, it naturally confronts and disrupts these established schemas, challenging us to rethink and expand our understanding. Thank you for sharing your voice in this endeavor!

  7. Simone Solomon says:

    You did an amazing job writing this article. You were able to get readers to understand the importance of Juneteenth. In your article you showed how each historical event was significant to making Juneteenth a federal holiday. You put present situations into helping the movement. For example the Black Lives Matter movements. That brought more media attention to the causes that African Americans face. It was refreshing to read your article and learn more about that spectacular day.

  8. Gabrielle Quetel says:

    Hi Leniqua, this post perfectly encompasses the history of Juneteenth and its impact. The connection that you formed between this federal holiday and the concept of schemas was really interesting. You went into great detail of the correlation that the two has as well as mentioning the cognitive scientists that founded the concept itself. Your post is very concise and well-worded. Your attention to detail that was shown throughout the article is a great portrayal of the time and skill that went into writing it.

  9. Kristle Casey says:

    This article was refreshingly comprehensive. Multiple concepts such as schemas, the effect of social media, and cognitive dissonance made this a well-rounded read. The concept of legislative schema was quite interesting. Many people don’t think about that extra layer lawmakers consider when creating legislation. While a mass group of people may give significance to a value or event, it’s another battle to garner bipartisan support and create a law which honors that significance. I’m glad that Juneteenth held enough significance to both politicians and citizens to be recognized as a national holiday.

  10. Brianna Matthew says:

    You did a fantastic job of capturing the essence of Juneteenth. This article highlights the importance of celebrating and recognizing black history. Most people do not know what Juneteenth is or why we should celebrate it. It is great that we have figures like Opal Lee and social media outlets to help spread its history and awareness.

  11. Treneece Williams says:

    Some people will be uncomfortable with addressing that coloured people have suffered throughout history, but it is important to acknowledge that so that society, and humanity’s future, can be better for the next generation. Juneteenth will act as the turning point where racism and discrimination will reduce in society.

  12. Makayla Smith says:

    Job well done on connecting the historical and cultural significance of Juneteenth to schemas. The bill designating Juneteenth as a federal holiday in 2021 marked a significant legislative milestone. Schema theory, which involves categorizing information into mental models, played a crucial role in shaping public opinion and the legislative process. Also, I enjoyed reading how BLM had an influence on Juneteenth. Great use of creativity!

  13. Waniya Baig says:

    Great job at highlighting the importance of social media and media coverage in the process of declaring Juneteenth as a national holiday. As you said, they both played an important role in calling attention to the Black Lives Matter movement and teaching the public about the history of Juneteenth. Great work!

  14. Tanika Charles says:

    Awesome job defining schemas and interconnecting it to how it shapes the views and actions of all parties involved in the declaration of Juneteenth as a holiday. Also the incorporation of Black Lives Matter as a stepping stone towards Juneteenth being passed as a law was incredible. Nice job!

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