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What is Juneteenth? Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.


On June 19th, 1865, the Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston, Texas and shared the news that the American Civil War had ended and that the former slaves were now free.

Juneteenth World Wide CelebrationJuneteenth

General Granger read General Order Number 3 to the people of Texas. It began with: "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 rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer."

The declaration made by Major General Gordon Granger on June 19th happened two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect in 1963. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact in Texas because there were not enough Union troops to enforce it. However, when General Lee surrendered in April 1865 and General Granger arrived, the Union forces were finally strong enough to overcome the resistance.

How is this important day remembered today? The Juneteenth website states: “Today, Juneteenth celebrates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics, and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today.”

Juneteenth Memorial Monument

The Military Orders that General Granger read to the people of Texas:

The Juneteenth Flag: