Emancipation Day (Juneteenth) celebration in Richmond, Virginia, 1905
Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the announcement of emancipation in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. More broadly, it celebrates the effective end of slavery in the United States.
History of Juneteenth
Freedom from slavery happened sporadically throughout the Civil War as Union troops claimed outlying Confederate territory or as enslaved people escaped to freedom. President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, enacted in 1863, declared those enslaved in Confederate territory to be free. However, this relied on Union troops to enforce the order and war was still ongoing.
Following the end of the war in 1865, Union troops made their way through Confederate states to reclaim them and announce emancipation. In June, Union General Gordon Granger and his troops finally arrived in Galveston, Texas. On June 19, to a gathered crowd, General Granger read aloud the order that proclaimed, “all slaves are free.” Celebrations broke out throughout the state as news spread.
Over the following decades Emancipation Day, or Juneteenth as it would come to be known, was celebrated primarily in Texas. Gatherings were full of music, food, and prayer, and in many cases became a way for separated family members to find each other again.
Juneteenth spread throughout the country significantly in the 20th century as Black Texans migrated to other states and brought southern Black culture with them. Over the years, activities expanded to include educational programs, civil rights advocacy events, and more as the holiday became a broader day of both remembrance and recognition of the need for further progress.
By 1900, Juneteenth was an unofficial holiday in Texas. Interest in celebrations saw a resurgence in the 1980s and 90s, leading Texas to become the first to recognize Juneteenth as an official state holiday on January 1, 1980. Congress passed a resolution officially recognizing Juneteenth in 1997.
While major cities in all 50 states now observe the holiday in some capacity, 46 states and the District of Columbia now officially recognize Juneteenth as either a state holiday or a special day of observance. It became a federal holiday in 2021.
Learn more about Juneteenth through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about Juneteenth
General Orders, No. 3, read on June 19th, 1865, declared "all slaves are free" Wed, Jun 21, 1865 – Page 1 · The Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) · Newspapers.comJuneteenth celebration in Indianola, Texas, 1877, to commemorate General Order No. 3 Sat, May 26, 1877 – 3 · Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas) · Newspapers.comDinner, debates, marches accompany Juneteenth celebrations in Cold Springs, Texas, 1891 Tue, Jun 23, 1891 – Page 14 · The Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) · Newspapers.comAccount of grim past during 1865 emancipation; Juneteenth 1893 sees celebrations throughout Texas Tue, Jun 20, 1893 – Page 4 · The Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) · Newspapers.comMeeting held to arrange two upcoming Juneteenth celebrations in Austin, TX, 1914 Thu, May 7, 1914 – Page 5 · The New York Age (New York, New York) · Newspapers.comTexas Juneteenth Celebration 1920 advert announces parade, amusements and refreshments Sat, Jun 12, 1920 – Page 14 · The Dallas Express (Dallas, Texas) · Newspapers.com1924 summary of Emancipation Day (Juneteenth) celebration and growth of Black community in Texas Sat, Jul 5, 1924 – Page 4 · The New York Age (New York, New York) · Newspapers.com"Wings Over Jordan" to perform in LA on Juneteenth, historic day of celebration (1941) Sat, Jun 14, 1941 – Page 21 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comJuneteenth at Camp Wolters, 1941, includes track meet, baseball, parade, demonstrations, dancing Sat, Jun 28, 1941 – Page 23 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comOpinion piece details notable omissions in Emancipation Proclamation and flaws in efficacy Sat, Nov 3, 1962 – Page 13 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comJuneteenth revival brings about renewed celebrations in Fort Worth, TX, 1975 Sun, Jun 15, 1975 – 91 · Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas) · Newspapers.comJuneteenth an official state holiday in Texas, 1980 Thu, Jun 19, 1980 – 20 · Austin American-Statesman (Austin, Texas) · Newspapers.comJuneteenth is both a celebration and a reminder that civil rights struggle is ongoing Sun, Jun 14, 1992 – 90 · The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina) · Newspapers.comHistory of Juneteenth, days of freedom in other states, Senate resolution to recognize holiday Fri, Jun 20, 1997 – Page 13 · The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois) · Newspapers.comA brief summary of Juneteenth holiday and its history Mon, Jun 19, 2000 – Page 201 · The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) · Newspapers.comMessy history of Civil War emancipation that surrounded creation of Juneteenth Sun, Jan 6, 2013 – A2 · Longview News-Journal (Longview, Texas) · Newspapers.comOpinion commentary on the complex history of Juneteenth, how it came to be, and its holiday status Fri, Jun 15, 2018 – 6 · The Atlanta Voice (Atlanta, Georgia) · Newspapers.com46 states and District of Columbia officially recognize Juneteenth, celebrations in 150+ cities Wed, Jun 19, 2019 – A4 · Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) · Newspapers.com