The Staten Island Board of Realtors® is an association that embraces all backgrounds, histories, and cultures that contribute to the fabric of our nation.

As we near July 4th,  it comes to mind that holidays underscore major milestones, or deserving people, in U.S. history. Such commemorative days should serve to remind us we are all Americans – unified in our responsibility to look out for each other – every day of our lives.

The recently observed holiday of Juneteenth, for example, is a reminder of General Gordon Granger arriving in Galveston, Texas, June 19, 1865, announcing the end of the Civil War, and thus officially and properly ending slavery across the United States.

While the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 marked the beginning of freedom, many states continued slavery as news of the Civil War’s conclusion wasn’t yet known to them.

Juneteenth recognizes the hardships and cruelty enslaved people faced, and celebrates the obstacles they’ve overcome. As described on, the holiday “celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures.”

In 1996, Michigan’s own Congresswoman Barbara Rose Collins began petitioning the U.S. government to make the day a federal holiday; to date, 46 out of 50 states recognize Juneteenth as a holiday