Juneteenth – Celebrate, Listen, Learn
June 19, 2020
Juneteenth, an American holiday with deep Texas roots, honors June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger, supported by federal troops, arrived in Galveston to announce the end of the Civil War and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. This enforcement came two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect (January 1, 1863). About six months after Juneteenth, on December 6, 1865, the necessary number of states ratified the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and slavery was officially abolished.
Initially celebrated privately by the black community, it became a public holiday in 1980, representing so much to so many people and having resonance well beyond the borders of Texas. Today, Juneteenth is celebrated across the country, acknowledging the freedom of Black Americans by emphasizing achievement and education while reflecting, rejoicing and planning for the future.
Juneteenth takes on new meaning in light of recent events. We hope that this day will be used as an opportunity for all Americans to contemplate how to serve the common good and seek the gathering demand for more equity and justice in our society.
Reflect on Juneteenth, remember the history, and honor the spirit and contributions of generations of African Americans to the story of America.