Celebrating Juneteenth: History of the holiday

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

On June 19th, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and the enslaved were now free.

This was more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which became official on January 1, 1863.

Some accounts place the delay of the news on a messenger who was murdered on his way to Galveston with the news, while others say the information was deliberately withheld.

The anniversary of June 19th continued to be revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date.

The celebration of June 19th was coined "Juneteenth" and has grown exponentially since the 80s and 90s. It became an official state holiday in Texas on January 1st, 1980.

6abc is proud to broadcast the 2019 Juneteenth Parade and Festival this Sunday at 1 p.m.
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