Here are a few facts that you may not have known about the celebration of the emancipation of the last slaves in the United States.
- President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Sept. 22, 1862, but it took nearly three more years before full emancipation was achieved.
- Union General Gordon Granger delivered the good news in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, issuing General Order No. 3 and officially freeing America’s final slaves. This date, known as Juneteenth, has since been celebrated as Black Independence Day by African-Americans across the nation.
- On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official state holiday in Texas. African-American state legislator Al Edwards’ bill marked Juneteenth as the first emancipation celebration to receive official state recognition.
- Juneteenth is not a federal holiday, but 43 of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia recognize it as a ceremonial holiday. There are more than 200 cities in the nation that celebrate Black Independence Day with festivals or other events.