Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, a Union General rode into Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended, and slaves had been freed. Though the Emancipation Proclamation became law in January 1863, it could not be enforced in regions still under confederate control. It took over 2 years for approximately 250,000 enslaved Texans to learn their freedom had been secured by the government.
Since that time, Juneteenth has developed into a special day for African Americans to gather with their communities to reflect on the past, honor the present, and look to the future through tradition-sharing, music, and storytelling.