June 1: Inspired after learning about the lives of Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, Claudette Colvin was 15 years old when was arrested for refusing to move from her front seat on a segregated Montgomery, Alabama bus in March 1955 (9 months before Rosa Parks). Later, Colvin challenged bus segregation in a lawsuit with three other women plaintiffs that ultimately successfully ended legal bus segregation in Montgomery and Alabama.
History of Juneteenth
On “Freedom’s Eve”—January 1, 1863—the first Watch Night services took place. That night, enslaved and free African Americans gathered in churches and homes all across the country awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation had taken effect. At midnight all enslaved people in Confederate States were declared legally free. However, not everyone in Confederate territory was immediately. Despite the Emancipation Proclamation being made effective in 1863, it could not be implemented in places still under Confederate control. As such, in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, enslaved people would not be free until much later. Freedom finally came on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state were free. This day came to be known as "Juneteenth." In 2021 Juneteenth became a federal holiday.