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History of June 16: How People Came to Celebrate It in the United States | Our America: Black Freedom

PHILADELPHIA – 2022 marks the 156th anniversary of June 156, the holiday that recognizes the first day of freedom for enslaved Africans in Texas and commemorates the end of slavery throughout the United States.

The Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln freed enslaved people in the Confederate States in 1863. It was a measure intended to punish the Confederacy during the US Civil War and did not cover enslaved Africans in border states.

It also failed to free those held in bondage in Texas. That was not to happen until June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger landed in Galveston, Texas and issued General Order #3. The popular belief is that enslaved Africans in Texas were unaware of the Emancipation Proclamation until Granger’s announcement.

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However, some historians dispute this claim.

“I think it could be a historical fallacy that the people of south Texas didn’t know about the end of slavery,” said Dr. Claud Clegg, Professor at the University of Chapel Hill with a joint appointment in African, African American and Diaspora Studies.

“Even if information was slow to spread during that time, there was enough going on, enough troop movements, enough war supplies, and enough information for people even in isolated Galveston, Texas, to know what was going on regarding the war effort,” Clegg explained .

“It wasn’t so much that people didn’t know. It was more that Confederate slave owners in Texas just didn’t want to give up their human property,” Clegg added.

A year after Black men, women and children were granted freedom in Galveston, the first celebration of June 16, also known in its early years as Emancipation Day, Liberation Day and Jubilee Day, took place.

“The moment of emancipation is a kind of bursting out of nationality, of nationality, of the humanity of people of African descent, and June 16 is the mark of that new beginning as a new people emerging from slavery,” Clegg explained.

In honor of June 16, we share stories of what black freedom means today, from a 94-year-old’s quest for a national holiday to fighting for reparations to cultural celebrations. Click here for more stories from your city and across the country.

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https://abc13.com/history-of-junteeth-what-is-juneteenth-when-did-start-in-galveston-texas/10776848/ History of June 16: How People Came to Celebrate It in the United States | Our America: Black Freedom

Dais Johnston

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