Honoring Juneteenth

Juneteenth (also known as Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day and Black Independence Day) is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of African Americans from slavery in the United States. Celebrated on June 19, the holiday received its name from a combination of “June” and “nineteenth.”

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas. There, he informed the slaves that the Civil War had ended and that slavery had been abolished.

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the executive of the United States, all slaves are free,” said Granger, publicly reading General Order No. 3.

Granger’s news led to celebrations across Texas because many slaves did not know that the Emancipation Proclamation had gone into effect two years earlier on Jan. 1, 1863.

Today, Juneteenth holds great importance, as it is the oldest holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It is also a way for many African Americans to celebrate their culture and their history with food, parades and music.

Juneteenth is now a nationally recognized federal holiday in the United States, with public workers observing this year’s holiday on Monday, June 20, 2022.

Chicagoland celebrations: