Juneteenth is a celebration that may be unfamiliar to those outside of Texas. So, what is Juneteenth and why is it important?
Juneteenth marks the time in 1865 when slaves in Texas finally found out they were free. Wait a second, weren’t the slave freed with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863? Yes. But the word didn’t get to Texas slaves until two whole years later! On June 19 (“Juneteenth”), 1865, Union general Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and issued General Order Number 3, which read in part, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”
Today, Juneteenth celebrations have extended beyond Texas and are celebrated in many communities across the country. Today, Juneteenth celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures.
I encourage everyone to take a moment and observe Juneteenth in their own special way this year. The history of Juneteenth is part of our collective American History!