Juneteenth 2022

June 16, 2022
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JUNETEENTH

Why June 19, 1865 marks the end of slavery in America … more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
What to know about the 12th federal holiday.

Historical Context

  • 1619: Commonly marked as the start of the African slave trade in the British colonies; the practice spread swiftly throughout all 13 colonies.
  • By 1804, all the Northern states had voted to abolish slavery, but it still persisted in the North well into the 19th century since many laws took a gradual approach.
  • 1861: Start of the Civil War
  • 1862: Emancipation Proclamation
  • 1865: 13th Amendment

Emancipation Proclamation

Sept. 1862: Pres. Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which states “all persons held as slaves … henceforward shall be free.”

  • Declared slaves *in rebelling Confederate states* (not Union-loyal slave states) to be free & allowed them to join the U.S. military, effective Jan. 1863.
  • HOWEVER, the 10 states weren’t under Union control — so it couldn’t be enforced.

13th Amendment

Jan. 1865: Congress passed the 13th Amendment, which states that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude … shall exist within the United States.”

  • Officially abolished slavery in the U.S.
  • Adopted in Dec. 1865 after the required three-fourths of the states ratified it.
  • Did You Know? Due to a clerical error, Mississippi didn’t ratify the 13th Amendment until 2013!

June 19, 1865

  • Two months after the end of the Civil War, a Union general & troops arrived in Galveston, TX to announce to the people of Texas that both slavery and the war had ended.
  • Although it was 2-1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slavery had persisted in Texas and other Southern states since they hadn’t considered themselves under U.S. authority during the war.
  • While slavery in the U.S. didn’t end swiftly, June 19 — also known as “Emancipation Day” — is observed as its official end.
“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…”

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger (June 19, 1865). African Americans began celebrating Emancipation Day on June 19, 1866. In 1980, Texas became the first state to celebrate it.

Juneteenth has risen in national prominence in recent years amid a reignited conversation about race in America.

It became a federal holiday last year when Congress voted affirmatively and Pres. Biden signed the bill into law, officially making it “Juneteenth National Independence Day.” It is the 12th federal holiday and the first created since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.

Juneteenth: Fact Sheet

Texas Remembers Juneteenth

by Jenna Lee,

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