Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Juneteenth 2021: Home

Celebrate Juneteenth!

Juneteenth Slideshow

About Juneteenth
The Emancipation Proclamation drew its legal authority from the emergency of the Civil War; it applied to those states still at war with the federal government.  President Abraham Lincoln did not want to threaten federal control of slave territory held by federal troops, who occupied Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware.  West Virginia had seceded from Virginia early in the war; it too was occupied by federal troops, as was the area around New Orleans and Washington D.C.
The complete and constitutional abolition of slavery required the 13th Amendment to be added to the Constitution. The Emancipation Proclamation marked the effective end of slavery in the United States. 
Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day” or Emancipation Day commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas.
Celebrated on June 19, Juneteenth, is the name given to Emancipation Day by African-Americans in Texas. The Emancipation Proclamation was scheduled to become effective on January 1, 1863 but slavery continued after that date in many states. It was wasn’t until two years later in 1865, Union Major-General Gordon Granger read General Order No.3 to the people of Galveston, Texas.
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.  This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.  The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages.  They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”
Large celebrations on June 19 began in 1866 and continued regularly into the early 20th century. During the 1960s, celebrations declined due to integration efforts of the Civil Rights Movement, but Juneteenth began to receive greater recognition again in the 1970s. Celebrations often include events and activities such as prayer services, games, picnics, barbecues, beauty pageants, talent contests, and sporting events. More generally, Juneteenth is a day to celebrate black pride and black achievements.
In the Texas state capital, Juneteenth was first celebrated in 1867 under the direction of the Freedmen's Bureau and became part of the calendar of public events by 1872. Juneteenth in Limestone County has gathered
The day has been celebrated through formal thanksgiving ceremonies at which the hymn
Certain foods became popular and subsequently synonymous with Juneteenth celebrations such as strawberry soda-pop. More traditional and just as popular was the barbecuing, through which Juneteenth participants could share in the spirit and aromas that their ancestors - the newly emancipated African Americans, would have experienced during their ceremonies. Hence, the barbecue pit is often established as the center of attention at Juneteenth celebrations. Food was abundant because everyone prepared a special dish. Meats such as lamb, pork and beef, which were not available everyday, were brought on this special occasion. A true Juneteenth celebration left visitors well satisfied and with enough conversation to last until the next.
Emancipation Day is also observed in many former European colonies in the Caribbean, Canada and South Africa.
United States congressional Representative Sheila Jackson Lee campaigns for Juneteenth to be a national holiday.
Juneteenth flag designer L.J. Graf packed lots of meaning into her design. The colors red, white, and blue echo the American flag to symbolize that the slaves and their descendants were Americans. The star in the middle pays homage to Texas, while the bursting


Juneteenth is a hybrid of the words June and nineteenth. It was first recognized on June 19, 1865. In the weeks following General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, General Gordon Granger and a regiment of Union army soldiers sailed into Galveston, Texas, and issued a freedom proclamation for nearly two hundred thousand slaves. This was the catalyst for a number of celebrations in the state and throughout the southwestern United States. Currently a Texas state holiday, Juneteenth is commemorated all over the country with parades, concerts, and cultural festivities.

Lincoln Proclaims Emancipation

President Abraham Lincoln signed the first Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. It was a preliminary document, announcing that emancipation would become effective on January 1, 1863. Enforcement, however, was stalled until the end of the Civil War in April 1865 and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on December 18, 1865. Texans were not notified of these developments and did not learn of their freedom until June 19 of that year. It is generally accepted that plantation owners purposely delayed the news announcing the end of slavery in order to orchestrate one final harvest and planting of the cotton crops.

Juneteenth Becomes a Texas State Holiday

Integration, the Great Depression, and World War II contributed to the decline of Juneteenth emancipation gatherings. In 1979 Houston Representative Al Edwards proposed legislation to make June 19 an official Texas state holiday. The bill became law on January 1, 1980. The renaissance of African American cultural pride and ethnic identification prevalent in the country over the last twenty-five years has helped to resurrect Juneteenth. It is now visible in a variety of places in the United States.

From CREDO: Slavery in the United States: A Social, Political, and Historical Encyclopedia

Juneteenth Galveston, Texas, June 19th, 1865 

Juneteenth started in Galveston, Texas:

"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer." 

From --Major General Gordon Granger, Galveston, June 19th, 1865

TCC Libraries Digital Display Archive

The Tarrant County College District Libraries are pleased to provide a wide assortment of digital displays and online exhibits designed to educate, inform, entertain, and engage our entire community, and to help support the learning experience outside of the traditional classroom environment.  To view more of these web-based displays, visit our Digital Display Archive page.