Juneteenth


HISTORY

Juneteenth is an American holiday celebrating African American heritage and is the oldest known celebration that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

Dating back to June 19, 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger landed in Galveston, TX, with the news that the American Civil War had ended and all enslaved people were free. It had been over two and a half years since President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation had become official on January 1, 1863. Read more about the history of Juneteenth, opens a new window.

The tradition of celebrating Juneteenth spread to neighboring states, but celebrating Juneteenth has waxed and waned over the last century. Read more on the history of modern Juneteenth celebrations, opens a new window.

On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official Texas holiday, and today, 45 U.S. states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth, opens a new window.

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” —General Orders, Number 3, opens a new window; Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston, June 19, 1865

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