Juneteenth (a combination of June and nineteenth), also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Liberation Day, is celebrated annually on the 19th of June to commemorate Union army general Gordon Granger’s reading of federal orders in the city of Galveston, Texas, on 19 June 1865, proclaiming all enslaved persons in Texas were free.
Although the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed them almost two and a half years earlier, and the American Civil War had largely ended with the defeat of the Confederate States in April, Texas was the most remote of the southern states, with a low presence of Union troops, so enforcement of the proclamation had been slow and inconsistent.
Celebrations date to 1866, at first involving church-centered community gatherings in Texas. Today, Juneteenth is an official Texas state holiday.
Letter from Mike Witherell: Please join me in celebrating and reflecting on Juneteenth
Learn more about this important date in American history:
Texas Institute for the Preservation of History and Culture
- Juneteenth – part 1 (running time 3:42)
- Juneteenth – part 2 (running time 10:01)
- Juneteenth – part 3 (running time 7:00)