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Juneteenth — A Texas-born celebration for us all

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day and Emancipation Day, commemorates the date-- June 19, 1865--when federal troops, led by General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

In December of that same year, slavery in America was formally abolished with the adoption of the 13th Amendment. The next year, freedmen in Texas organized the first of what became the annual celebration of "Jubilee Day" on June 19 (Juneteenth). In the ensuing decades, Juneteenth commemorations featured music, barbecues, prayer services and other activities, and as Black people migrated from Texas to other parts of the country the Juneteenth tradition spread.

Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday. Juneteenth became a public holiday in 1980, and today is celebrated across the country. On June 17, 2021, it officially became a federal holiday. To find out about area Juneteenth celebrations, visit the Juneteenth Central Texas website.

We encourage everyone to take the day to celebrate, but also to reflect on Juneteenth, remember the history, and honor the spirit and contributions of generations of African Americans to the story of America.

 

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