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Racial Justice in America

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is a holiday commemorating the effective emancipation of one of the last groups of enslaved people in the United States after the Civil War.  It was first celebrated in Galveston, TX, in 1866, and became a federal holiday in 2021.

It commemorates General Order No. 3, signed on June 19th, 1865, which enforced the emancipation of formerly enslaved people in Texas: although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed two years earlier, and the war had mostly ended a month before, enforcement was slow in more distant places like Texas.

Black and white photo of group of Black people in late Victorian outfits

An early Juneteenth celebration in Austin, TX, 1900.

Stephenson, Mrs. Charles (Grace Murray). [Emancipation Day Celebration, June 19, 1900], photograph, June 19, 1900; Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.


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