Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
library banner

African American Studies

What is Juneteenth?

 

Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day, June 19th, ia a holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. It began in Texas when news of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation (effective Jan. 1, 1863) finally reached Galveston on June 19, 1865. Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger (pictured right) read a general order to the assembled people stating that “all slaves are free,” and Texas thus became the last state to learn of the Confederate surrender and the freeing of the slaves. The announcement sparked immediate celebration in the local black community, and the following year the date was again commemorated.

From then on June 19th, which was dubbed Juneteenth, was treated much like an African-American Fourth of July, and the holiday spread throughout Texas and into nearby states. Typical 19th-century Juneteenth activities included prayer, speeches, the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, recitation of slave stories, rodeos, dances, games, and plenty of food. The holiday spread when African-Americans from the South migrated to urban areas outside the region. Modern observances tend to emphasize food, drink, and recreation. A movement to make Juneteenth a national holiday has the official support of about half the states; it is a state holiday in 14 states.

Entry from The Columbia Encyclopedia

 
 

Videos

Juneteenth Books

Kanopy Streaming

 

A former beauty queen and single mom prepares her rebellious teenage daughter for the "Miss Juneteenth" pageant.

 

Juneteenth LibGuide

 

 

For more information on Juneteenth, check out the Juneteenth LibGuide by clicking the image above!