Recognizing and Remembering: Juneteenth

Today, we celebrate and remember Juneteenth, which marks the day in 1865 that federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to ensure that all enslaved African American people be freed, ending slavery in the United States.

Recognizing Juneteenth and our American history is a commemoration and an opportunity for learning and growth. It exemplifies our values of putting people first, doing great work together, doing the right thing, and taking ownership and raising the bar. It invites us to delve deeper into our shared history to understand the struggles and triumphs that have shaped our nation. 

History of Juneteenth

Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, declaring enslaved people in Confederate states “forever free.” However, its impact didn’t reach Texas until nearly two years later, after General Robert E. Lee surrendered and the Confederate army lost the Civil War. General Gordon Granger read General Order No. 3 declaring, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

Formerly enslaved people in Texas organized the first Jubilee Day on June 19, 1866. Jubilee Day began a tradition that would spread nationwide, with Juneteenth celebrations becoming more widespread and significant over time. In 2021, Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday, recognizing its importance in American history. 

Learning Resources



  • On Juneteenth, Annette Gordon-Reed
  • Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and The End of Slavery, Barbara Krauthamer and Deborah Willis

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