On June 19 all over the country at State Capitols and city buildings the Juneteenth flag was waving proudly. The red white and blue flag with a bursting star in the middle and a curvature separating the colors are a symbolic representation of the end of slavery in the United States.

But just what do the symbols represent within themselves. The flag is the creation of activist Ben Haith, founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation. Haith designed the flag in 1997 with the help of collaborators, and Boston-based illustrator Lisa Jeanne Graf brought their vision to life.

The flag was revised in 2000 into the version we see today, according to the National Juneteenth Observation Foundation. Seven years later, the date “June 19, 1865” was added, commemorating the day that Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and told enslaved African Americans of their emancipation.

Here is the breakdown of the symbols:

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The white star in the middle has two meanings, Haith said. For one it represents Texas, it was in Galveston where soldiers informed the last remaining enslaved people that they in fact were free.

Haith also says the star goes beyond that of Texas; it also represents the freedom for all African Americans in all 50 states.

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The bursting outline around the star is inspired by a nova, a term that astronomers use to mean a new star.

On the Juneteenth flag, this represents a new beginning for the African Americans of Galveston and throughout the land.

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The curve that extends across the width of the flag represents a new horizon and the

opportunities and promise that lay ahead for black Americans.

 

The red, white and blue represents the American flag, a reminder that slaves and their descendants were and are Americans.

June 19, 1865, represents the day that enslaved black people in Galveston, Texas, became Americans under the law.