Haven’t heard of Juneteenth? Here is what you need to know.
Most of us Americans learned in our history class about when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, it ended the Civil War and slavery. BUT it took another 30 months and 19 days for the order to be carried out in Galveston, Texas. It was the last area of the Confederate States of America where African Americans were still enslaved.
Texas was one of the seven Confederate States of America, and even when Lincoln’s executive order was enacted on January 1, 1863, they weren’t going to recognize it. General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston on June 19, 1865, with a force of 2,000 Union troops dressed in red to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.
In the beginning, the day was known as Emancipation Day, and the first celebration kicked off in January 1866, when about 1,000 African American families gathered in Galveston for a peaceful presentation at one of the city’s earliest African American chapels.
A combination of the month and date of Granger’s arrival in Galveston transformed the holiday into the name it’s been known as for over 100 years: Juneteenth.
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