The History of Juneteenth

Have you heard of Juneteenth? Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the events of June 19, 1865. Why is this date important? The story begins years earlier.

On January 1, 1863, during the Civil War, President Lincoln gave a speech called the Emancipation Proclamation. In it, he said that all enslaved people in the rebelling states were now free.

However, news traveled very slowly in those days. Plus, some slave owners knew about the Emancipation Proclamation, but kept it to themselves. They did not tell the people they enslaved. It took Union soldiers more than two years to share this important news with enslaved people in Texas. The Union soldiers finally arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. The 250,000 enslaved people in Texas learned they were free!

Some of these freed people began celebrating and leaving plantations after they heard the news. They moved to northern states to start a new life. They brought the tradition of Juneteenth to other states around the country.

Today, people across the nation celebrate freedom from slavery on Juneteenth. People have celebrated this holiday for 155 years! Juneteenth is a day for African Americans to honor their culture and history. Some people honor this day through parades, games, speeches, and more. Sometimes, people even read The Emancipation Proclamation to remember its message. Juneteenth inspires all Americans to educate themselves on African American stories of struggle and success. Many people hope Juneteenth will soon be recognized as a national holiday. They want more people to know more about this historic day!