Juneteenth Celebrates the History of Emancipation Day

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(TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

(TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Juneteenth, or Empancipation Day, is a yearly celebration commemorating the emancipation of African-Americans in the U.S.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which proclaimed freedom of slaves in the 10 states still allowing slavery.  While the proclamation was issued on Sept. 22, 1862, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865 Union General Gordon Granger, along with 2,000 troops, arrived in Galveston, Texas in an effort to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation.

It was the announcement of “General Order No. 3″ on June 19 that made Juneteenth a national day of observance.  The order read, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

The day was made a Texas state holiday from 1980 and in 1996, the first legislation to mark “Juneteenth Independence Day” was introduced in the House of Representatives.

Learn more about Juneteenth with the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation.

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