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What Is Juneteenth?

Posted on Friday, June 19, 2020

What Is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19th in America, is the official national day recognizing the abolition of slavery. In 1865, Major General Gordon Granger led Union soldiers to Galveston, Texas to announce the end of the Civil War and the freedom of slaves.

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.” – General Granger

From that official day of freedom on, communities have celebrated the emancipation every year on June 19th. The African-American community uses this day to measure the progress of expanding freedoms and racial uplift in the United States. Sometimes called “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day”, Juneteenth celebrations come in many forms including:

  • Cookouts
  • Street fairs
  • Fishing
  • Barbecuing
  • Historical reenactments
  • Prayer services
  • Family/neighborhood gatherings
  • Parades
  • Dressing extravagantly


We Rose

By Kristina Kay
(Official Juneteenth Poem)

From Africa’s heart, we rose

Already a people, our faces ebon, our bodies lean,

We rose

Skills of art, life, beauty and family

Crushed by forces we knew nothing of, we rose

Survive we must, we did,

We rose

We rose to be you, we rose to be me,

Above everything expected, we rose

To become the knowledge we never knew,

We rose

Dream, we did

Act we must

Other informational resources:
This website includes the details on establishing Juneenth, as well as the other important dates for the abolition of slavery. It also highlights the festivities that communities participate in.
This article shares the forms of celebration and how this historic holiday relates to the current social climate, including systemic racism.
This website contains the historical timeline of Juneteenth, as well as important details of the types of celebrations.