Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of slaves in the United States. A longstanding tradition in African American communities, Juneteenth became an official Federal holiday in 2021.
Almost three years into the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863. President Lincoln proclaimed “that all persons held as slaves” in the rebelling Confederate states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” Freedom was not, however, the immediate reality for all individuals held as slaves in the country. On April 9th, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered, marking the end of the war between North and South, and just over two months after the war ended, federal troops led by Major General Gordon Granger entered Galveston, Texas, on June 19th, 1865. On that day, Granger issued General Order No. 3 to notify Texans of the Civil War’s end, enforce President Lincoln’s proclamation, and inform the roughly 250,000 enslaved people in Texas of their freedom.
These quarter million enslaved people were the last in the United States to receive the news of their emancipation, giving Juneteenth its unique significance. In 1866, free Texans began the first annual “Jubilee Day” celebration on June 19th.
There are many ways to celebrate Juneteenth, including a number of opportunities in our area.
Click the following link for a schedule of area Juneteenth celebrations:
Visit the links below to learn more about the history of Juneteenth, including resources for how to talk to our children about this critical topic.
National Museum of African American History & Culture, Juneteenth Digital Toolkit: https://nmaahc.si.edu/juneteenth-digital-toolkit
United Way: https://www.uwwp.org/juneteenth-day-1/