WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — The Pan-African flag was raised in front of Watertown City Hall on Saturday morning in honor of the Juneteenth holiday.
The holiday commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement, according to Juneteenth.com. The official holiday is celebrated on June 19 and is now considered a federal holiday after the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, S. 475 was signed into law in 2021. The public holiday will be observed on Monday, June 20.
The Chicago.gov website provides information on the history behind celebrations that focus on people’s heritage including black history month, Juneteenth, and more. The website explained that the Pan-African flag was created in 1920 by Marcus Garvey who was the leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association at a conference in New York City. Garvey reportedly created the flag to represent the African Diaspora and the Black Liberation Movement.
The website also stated that the red, green, and black colors on the flag represent unity for the African Diaspora. Specifically, the red symbolizes the bloodshed in the liberation movement and that unites people of African ancestry, the black symbolizes Black people who make up the Diaspora and the green symbolizes the wealth and fertility of the African continent.
Watertown City Council members were present at the flag raising ceremony at 11 a.m. on Saturday to celebrate the meaning behind the holiday. More information about the history of the holiday can be found here.