Thursday, June 19, 2008
Juneteenth: June 19
On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended and that all slaves were now free (the Emancipation Proclamation had become official on January 1, 1863). Reactions to the news among former slaves ranged from shock to jubilation, and most left the plantations even if they had nowhere else to go. Many moved north, while others moved elsewhere in the south to relocate with families. Since then, "Juneteenth" has evolved into an annual celebration of freedom and self-development, with emphasis on community and respect for all cultures.