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Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, has its roots in the United States and commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. It originated on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, officially announcing the end of slavery in Texas, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced General Order No. 3, proclaiming the freedom of enslaved people in Texas. This event, known as Juneteenth, marked the belated announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation to the last remaining enslaved individuals in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, General Granger arrived in Galveston with Union troops and read General Order No. 3, which proclaimed "all slaves are free." This announcement marked a significant moment for enslaved African Americans in Texas, and celebrations erupted in the streets, with prayers, singing, and jubilation.
As formerly enslaved individuals migrated from Texas to other states, they carried the tradition of Juneteenth with them. Over time, Juneteenth celebrations spread to various parts of the United States, especially in the South, becoming a vital commemoration of freedom and African American heritage.
Despite the initial enthusiasm surrounding Juneteenth, the Reconstruction era that followed the Civil War brought about significant challenges for African Americans, including the rise of segregation, Jim Crow laws, and systemic racism. However, communities continued to celebrate Juneteenth.
Over the years, Juneteenth gained recognition and became an important date in African American history. Efforts to make Juneteenth a national holiday intensified, and on June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, making Juneteenth a federal holiday in the US.