NATIONAL (WRBL) – Many people across the country are celebrating Juneteenth.
Juneteenth is when the last American slaves were freed, which happened two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth is observed on June 19 to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. It is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day.
Here’s everything you need to know about Juneteenth:
What is Juneteenth?
- On June 19, 1865, Major Gen. Gordon Granger came to Galveston, Texas, to inform a reluctant community that President Abraham Lincoln two years earlier had freed the slaves and to press locals to comply with his directive.
Why did it take so long for the news to get to Texas?
- There is no one reason why there was a two and a half year delay in letting Texas know about the abolition of slavery in the United States, according to Juneteenth.com. The historical site said some accounts place the delay on a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news, while others say the news was deliberately withheld.
Despite the delay, slavery did not end in Texas overnight, according to an article by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. originally posted on The Root. Gates said after New Orleans fell, many slavers traveled to Texas with their slaves to escape regulations enforced by the Union Army in other states.
The slave owners were placed with the responsibility of letting their slaves know about the news, and some delayed relaying the information until after the harvest, Gates said.
Where does the name “Juneteenth” come from?
- Juneteenth is a combination of “June” and “nineteenth,” in honor of the day that Granger announced the abolition of slavery in Texas.
How do people celebrate?
- On social media, many shared photos of Juneteenth parades that took place over the weekend and others call on the day to be recognized as a national holiday.
President Trump also took a moment to show appreciation for the holiday as well.