Should Juneteenth be an official holiday? Two-thirds of Americans surveyed by Harris Poll think so

By Mike Snider | USA Today 

Just more than half of Americans said they knew about Juneteenth, a date commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S., and even more – two-thirds – support making it a holiday, according to The Harris Poll.

President Trump took credit Thursday for making Juneteenth “very famous” after postponing until Saturday a political rally in Tulsa, Okla.

However, this new Harris Poll, out Friday, found that 22% of Americans said they were “very” aware of the date, while 30% said they were “somewhat” aware, according to the poll of a nationally representative survey of 1,963 U.S. adults was taken June 13-15.

One-third (33%) were “not at all aware,” and 15% were “not very aware,” according to the findings.

Juneteenth marks the date – June 19, 1865 – when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and declared “that all persons held as slaves” had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation issued in September of 1862 and effective Jan. 1, 1863. Some enslavers ignored the order until the Union troops arrived to enforce it, according to Juneteenth.com.

Black people or African Americans are more likely than whites and Asian or Pacific Islanders to be aware of Juneteenth – 69%, compared to 48% and 49%, respectively, the survey found.

In the days leading up to Juneteenth this year, many companies including Twitter, Nike and the National Football League announced plans to begin observing the date with a paid holiday.

When asked whether they supported companies making Juneteenth a holiday, 66% said they supported doing so, compared to 34% in opposition. Black people and African Americans were more likely than others to support Juneteenth becoming a holiday with 84% in approval. In comparison, 67% of Hispanics responded in support with whites (61%) and Asian or Pacific Islanders (60%).