History of Juneteenth
When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the enslavement of African people ended in states controlled by the Confederacy. It wasn't until the 13th Amendment was ratified in December 1865 that slavery was finally abolished in the United States. However, for many Black Americans. Enslaved people in border states were not freed, and for all practical purposes, neither were those in the Confederate states until the Union army entered.
Many enslaved Black Americans had no idea that President Lincoln had even signed the Emancipation Proclamation. In Texas, one of the last states to rely financially on enslaved human beings, more than two-and-a-half years passed before enslaved people received their freedom.
Juneteenth commemorates the date of June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to demand that enslaved people there be set free. Until that time, the Union army had not had sufficient strength to enforce the emancipation of the approximately 250,000 Black people enslaved in Texas, the most distant such state.1 When General Granger arrived, he read General Order No. 3 to Galveston residents.