Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19th, holds a particularly significant place in United States history and African American culture. This date marks the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the state, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863.
When is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is a federal public holiday in the United States and it is celebrated on June 19th each year.
The following is the list of Juneteenth in the United States from 2023 to 2027.
|June 19, 2023
|June 19, 2024
|June 19, 2025
|June 19, 2026
|June 19, 2027
The History of Juneteenth?
On January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all enslaved people in Confederate-held territory free. However, this did not immediately free all slaves, especially in remote areas like Texas.
Union Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. Texas was one of the last Confederate states where slavery was still practiced, as the minimal presence of Union troops in the region had delayed the enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation. Granger read aloud "General Order No. 3" in Galveston, proclaiming the freedom of enslaved people in Texas.
The first Juneteenth celebrations began in 1866. These were initially local Texas gatherings and involved prayer services and celebrations of African American culture. As African Americans migrated from Texas to other parts of the United States, they carried the Juneteenth celebrations with them.
Texas made Juneteenth a state holiday in 1980. Other states gradually followed, recognizing it in various forms. On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, which made Juneteenth an official federal holiday.
What People Do on This Day?
On Juneteenth, a variety of activities and events are organized to celebrate African American freedom, culture, and achievements. These celebrations are both joyful and reflective, providing opportunities for community gathering, education, and reflection on the historical significance. Here are five common ways to celebrate:
- Community Festivals and Parades: Many cities host festivals and parades featuring music, dance, and other performances that celebrate African American culture and history.
- Religious Services and Reflection: Churches and religious organizations often hold special services or prayer meetings to honor the day and reflect on the journey of African Americans.
- Family Reunions and Gatherings: Families often come together for cookouts, picnics, or barbecues. These gatherings are a way to reconnect with family members and pass down the historical significance of Juneteenth to younger generations.
- Cultural Exhibitions and Events: Art exhibitions, film screenings, and theater performances focusing on African American history and culture are often organized. These events highlight the contributions and resilience of the African American community.
- Educational Events: Workshops, seminars, and lectures may be held to discuss the history of slavery, the Civil War, emancipation, and current issues of racial justice and equity.
Who was Major General Gordon Granger?
Major General Gordon Granger played a crucial role in American history, particularly in relation to Juneteenth and the emancipation of enslaved people in Texas. Gordon Granger was born in 1821 in Wayne County, New York, and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1845.
Granger held various command positions in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He participated in several key battles, including the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863, where his actions were pivotal to the Union's defensive efforts.
On June 19, 1865, Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and read aloud the contents of "General Order No. 3" at various locations in Galveston. This order declared the freedom of all enslaved people in Texas, effectively implementing the Emancipation Proclamation there. Granger's actions on this day led to the widespread celebration of Juneteenth (June 19th) as a day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
Following the Civil War, Granger was involved in the Reconstruction efforts in the South. He continued his military service after the war, holding various posts until his death in 1876.