Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is an annual holiday celebrated in the United States on June 19th. It commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans and the abolition of slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced General Order No. 3, which proclaimed freedom for all enslaved people in Texas. This announcement came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation had officially abolished slavery in the Confederate states. Due to the lack of Union troops in Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, it took until Granger's arrival for the news to reach the enslaved people there.
The term "Juneteenth" is derived from the combination of "June" and "nineteenth" and has been observed as a day of celebration and reflection since its inception. It holds significant cultural and historical importance for African Americans, symbolizing the end of slavery and the continuing struggle for racial equality and civil rights in the United States.
Juneteenth celebrations often include community gatherings, parades, music, dance performances, picnics, and educational events. It is an opportunity to honor the achievements and contributions of African Americans, promote unity and equality, and educate others about the history of slavery and the ongoing pursuit of freedom and justice.
In recent years, there has been a growing movement to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday. On June 17, 2021, the U.S. Congress passed legislation to establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday, and it was signed into law by President Joe Biden. This designation acknowledges the historical significance of Juneteenth and provides an opportunity for widespread recognition and commemoration across the country.