What is Juneteenth?

On June 17, 2021, President Biden declared Juneteenth a Federal Holiday, but Black communities across the states and Black Diaspora have been celebrating for almost two centuries. So, what is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is the commemoration of June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers informed about 250,000 enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas they were free by executive decree. President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring enslavement illegal two years earlier, but the fight for freedom was not over. The United States Colored Troops, Union, and abolitionists like Harriet Tubman and Mary Ann Shadd Cary were key in ending the War and enforcing the Proclamation.

Juneteenth represents the resilience, history, and independence of Black Americans. Today, celebrations include music, parades, festivals and pageants. To learn more about Juneteenth visit Today in History - June 19. To find events across the county visit: Juneteenth Celebrations.

All library locations will be closed June 20 in observance of Juneteenth.