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Observing Juneteenth

Published: June 17, 2021

Reviewed: May 22, 2023

Juneteenth graphic
Caelestiss/iStock/Getty Images Plus

June 19 is Juneteenth, a federal holiday honoring this day in 1865 when troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to ensure that all enslaved people were to be freed.

Issued January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation marked the end of slavery in the United States. While this was a historic milestone in the fight for freedom, enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, didn’t learn of their freedom until June 19, 1865 ⁠— more than two years later. Considered the longest-running African American holiday, Juneteenth first was celebrated in 1866, commemorating the day when people of Galveston were freed. This holiday also is known as Emancipation Day or Freedom Day and is short for "June Nineteenth."

One way to observe Juneteenth is by focusing on education and self-growth. Many organizations and local groups host community events with guest speakers, prayer services and opportunities to learn about the history of this holiday and honor the culture and accomplishments of African Americans. Other ways to celebrate Juneteenth include activities ranging from festivals, rodeos and baseball games to family cookouts, picnics and gatherings.

For more information about Juneteenth, visit:
Juneteenth World Wide Celebration
National Museum of African American History & Culture

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