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Juneteenth, or June 19, commemorates the day in 1865 when slavery was ended in the United States. Also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or state day of observance in 41 U.S. states.

Why June 19th?

Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The proclamation declared that slaves were free, but it did not actually end slavery in the U.S. It was not until Jan. 31, 1865, that the 13th Amendment was passed, which formally abolished slavery in the United States, and m
any African-American slaves were not aware of their freedom until many years later.

And it was not until June 19, 1865 -- following the last battle of the Civil War at Palmetto Ranch in Texas -- that Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and Union soldiers marched into Galveston and announced that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved were now free. The celebration that followed the announcement was called Juneteenth.

Emancipation Day

Celebrations of the abolition of slavery occur on different dates in various countries and U.S. states. Washington D.C., for instance, celebrates April 16, the anniversary of the day in 1862 when President Lincoln freed 3,100 people in that city nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation.  

Other emancipation celebrations:
  • Bahamas: "Majority Rule Day" on January 10 commemorates day in 1967 when elections were first decided by a majority vote, allowing people of African descent an opportunity to form the government. 
  • Barbados: "Season of Emancipation" is celebrated April 14 to August 23.
  • Bermuda:  On the first day of "Cupmatch," a cricket competition, the Thursday before the first Monday in August.
  • Canada: Ontario celebrates Emancipation Day on the first Monday in August, when slavery was abolished in Upper Canada in 1810. The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 officially ended slavery throughout the British Empire.
  • Florida: May 20, the day the Emancipation Proclamation was read in the state in 1865.
  • Kentucky: August 8, marking the day Kentucky's slaves learned of their freedom.
  • Mississippi: May 8, also known as "Eight o' May."
  • Puerto Rico: March 22 is the official Emancipation Day holiday.
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: July 3 is Emancipation Day, commemorating the day that Gov. Peter Von Scholten abolished slavery in 1848.
In many other countries, such as Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Anguilla, Emancipation Day celebrations take place during Carnival.


Bulletin Board
Black Liberation in Kentucky
Black Liberation in Kentucky

Emancipation and Freedom, 1862-1884
Emancipation Day: Celebrating Freedom in Canada
Emancipation Day

Celebrating Freedom in Canada

Slaves and Slaveholders in Bermuda, 1616-1782
Slaves and Slaveholders in Bermuda, 1616-1782

Juneteenth: A Novel
Juneteenth: A Novel

Abraham Lincoln: First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation
Abraham Lincoln:

First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation

Juneteenth BBQ Apron
Juneteenth BBQ Apron

Bahamas National Flag
Bahamas National Flag

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