Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”), also called Freedom Day and Emancipation Day, marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to deliver news that President Lincoln has issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and take control of the state to ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival from Washington took a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. By then, Texas had amassed more than 250,000 slaves.
Leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation, Texas declared its secession from the Union on February 1, 1861, and joined the Confederate States on March 2 that same year, after it had replaced Governor Sam Houston, who had refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. For more on Texas’ role in the Civil War and secession bid, click here.
In 1979, Texas became the first state to recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday. Shortly thereafter, other states also proclaimed the holiday. Today, Juneteenth is a celebration of African American freedom, heritage and culture observed through songs, communal cookouts, and parades. On June 17, 2021, it officially became a federal holiday.
Reference material taken in part from the following source(s): The History Channel,wincalendar.com and Wikipedia.