WHAT IS JUNETEENTH
JUNETEENTH is a holiday that celebrates the Emancipation of African Americans from slavery but has come to signify much more. It is celebrated in June, the month that the last African Americans were informed of their Emancipation.
On September 22, 1862, during the Civil War (1861-1865), President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The Proclamation took effect on January 1, 1863. The Civil War ended in April 1865.
Following the end of the War, US Government officials were dispatched to order southern states to comply with the Emancipation Proclamation and by June they arrived in Texas.
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger, representing the United States Government, landed at Galveston Texas and issued a general order from the President of the United States that declared that all slaves were free.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery. What began as a Texas holiday to celebrate Emancipation, became a holiday celebrated throughout the US. Today, Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month, 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.
Juneteenth has come to symbolize for many African Americans what the 4th of July symbolizes for all Americans: FREEDOM.