By BetterHelp Editorial Team|Updated June 14, 2022
What Is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, honors the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States in the month of June. The holiday’s history began in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. In that year, the Civil War Union General Gordon Granger, arrived with Union troops to free the people living in slavery in the Texas town, two years after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, enacted by Abraham Lincoln, declared that all slaves, or enslaved peoples, inside and outside Union lines be freed.
Though many have recognized Juneteenth in Texas and around the country since 1866, it was not officially declared a holiday on the federal calendar until June 17th, 2021. This year, the holiday falls on June 20th, which is a Monday in June. Its long path to one of the national dates of celebration in June that has been fraught with advocacy against the holiday’s ignorance and is still a hot topic, outside of Texas, even today.
A Brief History
Before we dive into Juneteenth, let’s revisit the end of slavery in Texas, the state where June 19 and its subsequent recognition began. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln in 1863 during the Civil War, however, it did not immediately free all enslaved people; in fact, the Emancipation Proclamation only applied to enslaved people that were residing in states under confederate control. Once the war was over, however, both states within Union lines and the former confederacy were required to allow former enslaved people their freedom. In the state of Texas specifically, slavery remained legal until the arrival of General Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865.