We would like to wish everyone a happy Juneteenth and, in commemoration of the holiday, to share the information and resources below:
Today, June 19, 2022, marks Juneteenth—also known as Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day, or Freedom Day—a holiday that commemorates the effective end of slavery in the United States.
On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared, as to the Confederate states in rebellion against the Union, that “all persons held as slaves…shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” Despite that declaration, slavery persisted in many parts of the country as enforcement was dependent on the presence (and advancement) of Union troops. In particular, slavery continued in Texas, which did not have a large presence of Union troops; in fact, many enslavers relocated to Texas following the Emancipation Proclamation because it was seen as a safe haven for slavery.
On June 19, 1865, Union Army Gen. Gordon. Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and announced General Order No. 3, which informed the people of Texas: “all slaves are free.” Then, in December of that year, slavery was formally abolished with the adoption of the 13th Amendment.
Beginning in 1866, Texans celebrated Juneteenth in a variety of ways, including parades, cookouts, prayer gatherings, and other community events. Some African-American communities celebrated by collecting money to buy property. In 1872, an African-American community in Houston pooled $1,000 to put down on ten acres of land for use in their Juneteenth celebration; that land is now known as Emancipation Park.
Juneteenth celebrations were originally limited to Texas, but they soon spread across the country as African-Americans migrated to new cities. Texas became the first state to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday on January 1, 1980. On June 11, 2021, Juneteenth became a Louisiana state holiday, and on June 17, 2021, the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act established Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
Today, Juneteenth is celebrated across the country by people of various backgrounds. Juneteenth also presents an opportunity for reflection and conversation on the history and legacy of racism—and on work that still needs to be done to address racial injustice and discrimination in the present day.
Liskow & Lewis would like to wish everyone a happy Juneteenth. The Firm will commemorate the holiday with a Juneteenth Luncheon for attorneys and staff on June 20, 2022.
For more information on Juneteenth and on Juneteenth celebrations happening in your area, please visit the resources linked below:
National Museum of African American History & Culture – Juneteenth