Most people are familiar with Father's Day that was celebrated on Sunday, June 18. However, not many people are familiar with the following day, June 19. Every June 19 is referred to as "Juneteenth." What is it and why is it celebrated?


Juneteenth is observed on June 19 every year to commemorate the date of the announcement that slavery had ended in the United States. It is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. It was on June 19, 1865, that Major General Gordon Granger went to Galveston, Texas and informed slave owners that President Abraham Lincoln had freed the slaves two and a half years earlier.

President Lincoln actually issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, with an effective date of January 1, 1863.

Even though the news had been delayed, the abolition of slavery in the United States was good news because it affected tens of thousands of slaves in Texas. The announcement was meant to close the door once and for all on slavery in the United States.

Even with the good news, slavery did not end in Texas right away. Slave owners did not release their slaves until after they had completed more tasks. It was only after the harvest that slaves were finally released. Therefore, the freedom of slaves was delayed much longer than it should have been.

The name

The name Juneteenth is simply the combination of the month of June and the nineteenth day.

It was not the actual date when slavery was abolished in Texas. Instead, it is the date the news was announced.

People should understand that slavery did not end on June 19, 1895. Juneteenth is the date of the announcement that should have come over two years earlier.

Traditions and celebrations

Juneteenth is recognized and people celebrate the date that marks the news of the abolition of slavery.

Black people celebrate today by organizing family reunions around that date. At the reunions or other gatherings on Juneteenth, red foods are served as a reminder of the blood that was shed during slavery. For instance, barbecue is the main food. Some say they have red beans, watermelon, red velvet cake, strawberry pie and a red-flavored Kool-Aid.

Some churches have Juneteenth celebrations with special events. There are parades in some places that focus on African American hymns and music.

Have you ever heard of Juneteenth? Did you know that June 19 is not the date of the abolition of slavery in Texas? Remember it was the date of the announcement of the Proclamation Emancipation.