Juneteenth, also called Freedom Day and Emancipation Day, celebrates the abolition of slaveryin the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Texas to deliver news that President Lincoln has issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the enslaved. Although Lincoln's Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, it took nearly two and half years for word to travel from Washington to Texas. By then, Texas had amassed more than 250,000 slaves.
Since 1865, Juneteenth has been informally celebrated throughout the country however in 1980, Texas became the first state to recognize it as an official holiday. Shortly thereafter, other states also proclaimed the holiday. Today, Juneteenth is a celebration of African-American freedom, heritage and culture observed through songs, communal cookouts and parades.
Juneteenth Facts & Quotes
- The national juneteenth theme is Together we will see Juneteenth become a national day of observance in America!.
- According to the International Labor Organization, almost 21 million people are victims of forced labor today, 11+ million women and girls and 9+ million men and boys.
- Juneteenth is an official state holiday in Texas, meaning that Texans do not work.
- Juneteenth is a combination of the words June and Nineteenth in reference to the date that slaves were freed in Texas.