Looking for the best quotes about Juneteenth? Want to celebrate June 19th with inspirational Juneteenth quotes?
The abolition of slavery in the United States (at least on paper), came in the form of the 13th Amendment. First, passing in Congress on January 31st, 1865, then eventually ratified on December 6th, 1865.
You’ll notice that neither of these dates is June 19th. And although Juneteenth is the date African Americans recognize as “Emancipation Day,” it’s not the official or the recorded date for the end of slavery in the United States.
And yes, several states and countries also celebrate Emancipation Day on different days throughout the year. But that’s another story and mostly tied to the emancipation of former British colonies.
Back to Juneteenth, a now vibrant annual celebration in the United States. The day June 19th became the day of celebration when freedom was proclaimed to the slaves in Texas on that same day back in 1865. So technically, that’s the first “Juneteenth.”
For you history buffs, that’s more than two years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1893. (For the purpose of this post, we’ll leave all the Civil War drama out.)
Until recently, Juneteenth was not a nationally recognized holiday, despite it commemorating a very important milestone in American history. But, on June 17, 2021, that changed, when the day was established as a federal holiday, officially known as Juneteenth National Independence Day.
Whether you say “Happy Juneteenth,” “Happy Emancipation Day,” or even “Happy Freedom Day,” the sentiment is the same. May the following inspirational Juneteenth quotes help you not only celebrate but commemorate the enduring experience of African Americans in the United States (and around the world).
Reflection on History and Progress Quotes for Juneteenth
Why celebrate Juneteeth at all? What is this day of freedom all about? Let’s begin with quotes about Juneteenth that explore the history of the African American people. It is a celebration of progress for people who have survived hundreds of years of enslavement and continued discrimination. That’s no small thing!
“Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory or an acceptance of the way things are. It’s a celebration of progress.” — Barack Obama
2. “Juneteenth may mark just one moment in the struggle for emancipation, but the holiday gives us an occasion to reflect on the profound contributions of enslaved Black Americans to the cause of human freedom.” — Jamelle Bouie
3. “Even though the story has never been tidy, and Black folks have had to march and fight for every inch of our freedom, our story is nonetheless one of progress.” — Michelle Obama
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4. “If you know whence you came, there is really no limit to where you can go.” — James Baldwin
5. “Juneteenth represents a milestone in our nation’s history, reminding us of the progress we have made and the work that remains.” — Cory Booker
6. “There’s no other race, to me, that has such a tough history for hundreds and hundreds of years, and only the strong survive, so we were the strongest and the most mentally tough, and I’m really proud to wear this color every single day of my life.” — Serena Williams
“The Black skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness.” —Marcus Garvey
Quotes About The Ancestors’ Resilience
Have you ever imagined what your ancestors went through? What the last hundred years were like for black people in America? I do, all the time. I hope the following Juneteenth quotes about resilience and empowerment of the ancestors, help you to gain that perspective. We must continue to remind successive generations about the real history.
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8. “Juneteenth is a day to honor and remember the resilience, strength, and dignity of our ancestors.” — Opal Lee
9. “Juneteenth is a time to remember the struggles of our ancestors and to recommit ourselves to the ongoing work of achieving true freedom and equality for all.” — Kimberlé Crenshaw
10. “Juneteenth means so much to me. It represents the freedom that my ancestors fought so tirelessly for. But rather than focusing on the brutalization of my people then and now. I choose to focus on hope. June 19th reminds me that I am the force of power to change this world and to follow in the footsteps of my ancestors to work towards liberation.” — Mariah Cooley
“Every Black person you meet is a miracle… We are valuable because of our humanity and declared valuable because our ancestors declared our worth when they fought for us to live.” — Brittany Packnett
12. “On Juneteenth, we honor the strength and perseverance of those who fought for emancipation and equality.” — Barack Obama
13. “Juneteenth is a celebration of Black joy, Black resilience, and Black power. It’s a day to honor our ancestors and to recommit to the fight for liberation.” — Patrisse Cullors
14. “Juneteenth is a time to reflect on the sacrifices of our ancestors and the resilience of our community. It’s a reminder that freedom is not given, but earned through struggle and perseverance.” — Ibram X. Kend
Justice, Equality, and Activism Juneteenth Quotes
What do justice and equality mean to you? Is it a fight in the past, or a present struggle? This selection of powerful Juneteenth quotes explores the ongoing pursuit of justice and equality for African Americans. Freedom Day celebrates emancipation, but equality remains an ongoing pursuit. It’s a never-ending process.
“Juneteenth is a powerful reminder that freedom is a constant struggle, and it is worth fighting for.” — Angela Davis
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16. “Juneteenth reminds us that freedom is not given; it is demanded and earned.” — Maya Angelou
17. “Movements don’t die because struggle doesn’t die.” — Harry Belafonte
18. “If you dare to struggle, you dare to win. If you dare not struggle, then damn it, you don’t deserve to win.” — Fred Hampton
“Juneteenth is not just a celebration; it is a call to action for justice and equality.” — Kamala Harris
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20. “Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom, but also a reminder of the ongoing fight for justice and equality.” — Stacey Abrams
21. “You need not be afraid to give us our rights for fear we will take too much — for we can’t take more than our pint’ll hold.” — Sojourner Truth
22. “What historical narrative are we willing to weave in order to remind people not only that we were here enduring the trials but that we stared the fang toothed wolves of injustice in the face and said ‘no more’.” — Travon Free
23. “Ours is not the struggle of one day, one week or one year. Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part.” — John Lewis
24. “Juneteenth is a testament to the power of hope, unity, and the pursuit of justice.” — John Lewis
25. “We are not ready to fight because we love fighting. We are ready to fight because we are worth fighting for.” – Zoé Samudzi
Inspirational Freedom Day Quotes for Juneteenth
What does freedom mean to you, personally? Do you feel free in your country or community? It can be hard to imagine in our current world that vast portions of the American population were enslaved. The proceeding Juneteenth quotes explore freedom, from struggle to the realities of being free.
26. “Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” — Toni Morrison
27. “I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free.” — Rosa Parks
“We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
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29. “You can’t separate peace from freedom, because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” — Malcolm X
30. “Freedom is not something that one people can bestow on another as a gift. They claim it as their own and none can keep it from them.” — Kwame Nkrumah
“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
32. “Juneteenth is a day to reflect on the past, but also to envision a future where freedom and justice are fully realized for all.” — Alicia Garza
33. “Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.” — Coretta Scott King
34. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” — Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Unless All of Humanity Is Free Quotes
Do you think that Juneteenth is just about or for African Americans? That the pursuit of freedom is exclusively a black person’s problem? The following collection of quotes expands the conversation about freedom to all of humanity. If one person or part of all humanity is not free, then there is no freedom. It’s about human rights for all.
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35. “In the end, anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing: anti-humanism.” — Shirley Chisholm
“Black liberation has never just been about Black people. It’s been about a fight for our humanity, for our dignity.” — Patrisse Cullors
37. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
38. “It’s freedom for everybody or freedom for nobody.” — Malcolm X
39. “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” — Desmond Tutu
40. “The day we were free—everyone was free. Why not make it a paid holiday? We deserve that…We want a day that is inclusive to everyone.” — Pharrell Williams
41. “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.” — Fannie Lou Hamer
Unity in the Black Community Quotes for Juneteenth
What’s a celebration without a community to share it with? This next of quotes about Juneteenth and Emancipation celebrate the black community. From a history of shared black experience to the future of uplifting one another. The movement is all about togetherness.
42. “Juneteenth is a celebration of the progress we have made, a reminder of the work still ahead, and an opportunity to unite as a community.” — Kamala Harris
“Juneteenth is a day to acknowledge the painful legacy of slavery, but also a day to celebrate the resilience and strength of the Black community.” — Nikole Hannah-Jones
44. “Every June 19th is an opportunity for us to continue the momentum of memory, and the parade and the self-determination movements.” — Dr. Greg Carr
45. “Juneteenth is not just a holiday, it’s a movement.” — Alicia Keys
46. “Juneteenth is another moment for me and my loved ones to build an archive of truth and experience of (ourselves) Black folks.” — Tatiana Glover
47. “Hold those things that tell your history and protect them. During slavery, who was able to read or write or keep anything? The ability to have somebody to tell your story to is so important. It says: ‘I was here. I may be sold tomorrow. But you know I was here.” — Maya Angelou
48. “There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.” — Booker T. Washington
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49. “Understanding history is one of many ways to break the cycle. Lift up/amplify Black voices. Support Black owned businesses. Reach back. Mentor.” — Chadwick Boseman
50. “You must never, ever give out. We must keep the faith because we are one people. We are brothers and sisters. We all live in the same house: The American house.” — John Lewis
Exploring The American Identity Quotes
What does it mean to be American? What’s the American identity? With this selection of inspirational Juneteenth quotes you can explore the duality and complexities of America. If a nation is its people, then the path forward is clear: equality and acceptance for all. A reminder that Juneteenth is not just about black people.
51. “We black folk, our history, and our present being are a mirror of all the manifold experiences of America. What we want, what we represent, what we endure is what America is. If we black folk perish, America will perish.” — Richard Wright
“Won’t it be wonderful when Black history and Native American history and Jewish history and all of U.S. history is taught from one book. Just U.S. history.” — Maya Angelou
53. “America has looted black people. America looted the Native Americans when they first came here, looting is what you do. We learned it from you. We learned violence from you. If you want us to do better, then dammit, you do better.” — Tamika Mallory
54. “I had crossed the line. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land.” — Harriet Tubman
55. “We have suffered discrimination. We have suffered isolation and undermining. But we stand up for America, oftentimes when others who think they are more patriotic, who say they are more patriotic, do not.” — Maxine Waters
56. “We are going to get out here, I am going to get out here and get something done. We have to wake up America. We have to make America uncomfortable like we’ve been uncomfortable for 400 years.” — Gwen Carr
57. “My fellow Americans, this is a special moment in our history. Just as people of all faiths and no faiths, and all backgrounds, creeds, and colors banded together decades ago to fight for equality and justice in a peaceful, orderly, nonviolent fashion, we must do so again.” — John Lewis
58. “What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth. The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.” — Barack Obama
59. “Whether we are born here or seek refuge here, there’s a place for us all. We must remember it’s not my America or your America. It’s our America.” — Michelle Obama
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60. “What the people want is simple. They want an America as good as its promise.” — Barbara C. Jordan
61. “I don’t measure America by its achievement but by its potential.” — Shirley Chisholm
Inspirational Quotes about Juneteenth
What does Juneteenth mean to you? What does Freedom Day represent? Let’s celebrate with the following Juneteenth inspirational quotes that define and describe the day. They seek to explain to anyone what is so special about June 19th to African Americans and all Americans.
62. “Throughout history, Juneteenth has been known by many names: Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, Liberation Day, Emancipation Day and, today, a national holiday.” — Kamala Harris
63. “Early on, the spelling of the holiday was not yet fixed, often appearing as ‘June ‘teenth,’ ‘June-teenth,’ or ‘June teenth.’ The Dictionary of American Regional English records another variant Texan form, ‘June the tenth.’ The legend is that the ‘teenth’ is because the news is delivered on different days to different groups.” — Leslie Wilson
64. “Juneteenth is important to me because till this day black people are still subject to racial injustice on a global scale, and are still victims of racial abuse regardless of where they are from. Juneteenth allows us to remember how far black people have progressed since and it is a reminder of the strength we have within us.” — Bethel Kyeza
“Juneteenth may mark just one moment in the struggle for emancipation, but the holiday gives us an occasion to reflect on the profound contributions of enslaved Black Americans to the cause of human freedom.” — Jamelle Bouie
66. “The 4th of July was never about Black people. Juneteenth is just for us. As Black people, we are told we don’t deserve our own holidays rooted in our own history. Everything is whitewashed. Juneteenth is for us… Juneteenth symbolizes the hope that my children and grandchildren will be free. It’s Black Joy and Black tenacity to survive.” — Tanesha Grant
67. “Juneteenth is a reminder that our freedom is intertwined, and we must continue to work together to dismantle systemic racism and build a more inclusive society.” — Rashad Robinson
68. “Every June 19th is an opportunity for us to continue the momentum of memory, and the parade and the self-determination movements.” — Dr. Greg Carr
69. “I think Juneteenth feels a little different now. It’s an opportunity for folks to kind of catch their breath about what has been this incredible pace of change and shifting that we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks.” — Mark Anthony Neal
“Juneteenth represents the moment when we stopped building other people’s country and started building our own, and so it’s become a symbol of our perseverance, determination, and ultimately our freedom.” — Opal Lee
Let’s Build A Better Future Together Quotes
Where do we go from here? What can we do? This final selection of inspirational Juneteenth quotes encourages us to all work together and do our part to make this world a better place. What can you do today in your own community and home?
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71. “Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
“Peace is necessary. For justice, it is necessary. For hope, it is necessary, for our future.” — Harry Belafonte
73. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” — Barack Obama
74. “A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.” — Nelson Mandela
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75. “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” ― Angela Davis
76. “There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.” ― Michelle Obama
77. “We are fighting for a different world, and we are building new muscles to do so.” ― Alicia Garza
78. “Juneteenth isn’t just about commemorating the past. It’s about addressing the present, so we can create a better future.” — Yvette Johnson
79. “Juneteenth reminds me of Black freedom dreams, my freedom dreams.” — Dannese Mapanda
Inspirational Black & White Wall Art Quotes
Did you enjoy these inspirational Juneteenth quotes? Awesome, here are 10 beautiful printable black and white art quotes that are perfect for your office, bedroom, or wherever you need the reminder to live an inspired life. Each design features a brushed ink letter detailing.
This download comes with 10 high-resolution graphics ready to be printed, framed, and posted.
Happy Juneteenth to you! May this day which means so much to one community, mean more to you.
Get inspired to get involved in causes that promote human freedom and equality for all.
June 19th isn’t just for African Americans and members of the black community, it’s for every American.
How will you celebrate and commemorate?Happy Freedom Day! Click here to celebrate Emancipation Day with these inspirational Juneteenth quotes about equality and freedom. #Juneteenth #BlackHistory #EmancipationDay
Which Juneteenth quotes do you like best?
Last Updated on June 19, 2023