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The history of Juneteenth

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

By Lois Charm

On June 19th, the nation will recognize one of the oldest celebrations in United States history: Juneteenth. According to, Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery and “is the oldest running African American holiday."

The holiday was created in 1866, as a way freedmen decided to commemorate the day they heard the military orders stating their freedom, according to PBS.

NBC News also states that, these orders, General Orders No. 3, were shared “when Union General Gordon Granger led thousands of federal troops to Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended, and slaves had been freed.”

Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was passed in 1863, according to, it wasn’t until about two-and-a-half years later, on June 19, 1865, that Texan slaves were told of their freedom, in which they then passed the news to others.

Artwork: Shutterstock

“In 1980 ‘Emancipation Day in Texas’ became a legal state holiday in recognition of Juneteenth and today the holiday is recognized as a state holiday in 47 states. Also, around the nation, the holiday is also referred to as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day,” according to NBC News.

Lois Charm is a freelance journalist for Writing by Design Media, Inc.

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