Juneteenth, observed annually on June 19, celebrates the news of the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States reaching Southern Texas. On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation into law. This declared all enslaved individuals in the southern rebellion states “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”
This news took more than two years to reach all Southern states. On June 19, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced that all enslaved individuals were now free. The following year, freedmen in Texas organized the first of what became the annual celebration of “Jubilee Day” on June 19. Today, Jubilee Day, widely referred to as Juneteenth, is celebrated and commemorated across the United States.