Commemorating Juneteeth

This year we commemorate the 155th anniversary of Juneteeth, also known as Emancipation Day. Juneteenth is recognized as a holiday in 46 states and the District of Columbia, and just this week, New York and Virginia have declared Juneteenth as state holidays. A misconception about June 19th is that this is the day that slavery in the United States ended. In fact, Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865, when a Union general arrived in Texas to inform the last group of enslaved African Americans of their freedom. This announcement came two years after Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and Confederates states surrendered to end the Civil War. And so this day is in part a celebration of freedom, but also a solemn recognition of the suffering of enslaved Africans across the 400 years of slavery in the United States.