Juneteenth Facts

Juneteenth Facts

Juneteenthor Emancipation Day, June 19th, holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. It began in Texas when news of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation finally reached Galveston on June 19, 1865. Union Maj. Gen. GordonGranger read a general order to the assembled people stating that “allslaves are free,” and Texas thus became the last state to learn of theConfederate surrender and the freeing of the slaves. The announcement sparkedimmediate celebration in the local black community, and the following year thedate was again commemorated.  {{more}} From then on June 19th, which was dubbed Juneteenth, was treated much like anAfrican-American Fourth of July, and the holiday spread throughout Texas andinto nearby states. Typical 19th-century Juneteenth activities included prayer,speeches, the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, recitation of slavestories, rodeos, dances, games, and plenty of food. The holiday spread whenAfrican-Americans from the South migrated to urban areas outside the region.Modern observances tend to emphasize food, drink, and recreation. A movement tomake Juneteenth a national holiday has the official support of about half thestates; it is a state holiday in 14 states.