The History Behind Juneteenth Day

June 19, 2023

June 19th is also known as “Juneteenth” or “Freedom Day,” commemorating the end of slavery for African Americans. While the Emancipation Proclamation freed all slaves in January 1863, it took another two and a half years for this news to arrive in Texas.

According to the National Museum of African American History & Culture, “On June 19, 1865, nearly two years after President Abraham Lincoln emancipated enslaved Africans in America, Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas with news of freedom. More than 250,000 African Americans embraced freedom by executive decree in what became known as Juneteenth or Freedom Day. With the principles of self-determination, citizenship, and democracy magnifying their hopes and dreams, those Texans held fast to the promise of true liberty for all.”

The National Museum of African American History & Culture has created a Juneteenth Digital Toolkit full of insights, resources, information, and interactive tools to learn more and celebrate this significant federal holiday.