TOCCI Celebrates Juneteenth

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Celebrating Juneteenth: A Day of Freedom + Reflection

On June 19th, 1865, nearly two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and two months after General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news of freedom for more than 250,000 enslaved African Americans in the state.

The Emancipation Proclamation, issued on January 1st, 1863, declared the freedom of enslaved people in Confederate states. However, enforcement of this decree was uneven and heavily dependent on the advance of Union troops. In the Confederate state of Texas, slavery had continued until General Gordon Granger and his soldiers arrived in Galveston where he delivered General Order No. 3, which informed the people of Texas that all enslaved people were now free.

Since the late 1800s, African Americans have been celebrating Juneteenth, evolving from early prayers and family gatherings to large community events. On January 1st, 1980, Texas became the first state to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday. Following the nationwide protests against police brutality in 2020, President Joe Biden signed the legislation on June 17th, 2021, declaring Juneteenth as the 11th federal holiday.

Today, Juneteenth is celebrated throughout United States with a variety of parades, festivals, and gatherings. This day is a powerful reminder of the long journey toward freedom and equality. It encourages us to learn more about the history of slavery, and the long journey toward civil rights and equality.

Photo: The Source – Metro Transportation News.

Source: National Museum of African American History and Culture + Society for Public Health Education