Juneteenth originated in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to commemorate African Americans' legal freedom from slavery after the American Civil War. Juneteenth is observed on June 19th. Historians note that Juneteenth was the result of Union general Gordan Granger's public reading on June 19, 1865 of General Order Number 3, which stated: "The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer."
There are several Black folk tales that describe the origin of Juneteenth, including:
Today, Juneteenth is regarded as a means to celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans, with a focus on education, family gatherings, festivals, cultural events, political speeches, and to remember the indelible scars caused by slavery that all Americans carry to this day.
This guide contains information sources on the history of Juneteenth, local and regional celebrations, and which states officially recognize Juneteenth as a holiday.