top of page

The Historical Importance of Juneteenth

Written by Caliegh Calvey

155 years ago today, all people held in slavery were freed. This year has seen an increase in celebration of Juneteenth due to the recent activity of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Juneteenth originated in Texas. While President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, it was not applicable to the enslaved in Confederate States. After the Confederacy surrendered, the Army of the Trans-Mississippi held out until June 2nd. 

After the last of the Confederacy surrendered, Union Army General Gordon Granger entered Texas with other soldiers. The next day, at Ashton Villa in Galveston, he read General Order No.3 which freed the enslaved in Texas. Despite this, not all those held in slavery were freed until the passing of the 13th amendment. 

During the Jim Crow political forces, particularly in former Confederate states, largely diminished Juneteenth. Juneteenth experienced a brief revival before the beginning of WW2, but once again declined during the Civil Rights movement. 

In 1980 Texas recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday. Due to the George Floyd protests, the holiday experienced a revival. As of today (June 19 2020), the city of Honolulu finally recognized Juneteenth as a holiday, however, the state of Hawaii is the only state to not recognize Juneteenth. 

bottom of page