Juneteenth - a term combining June and nineteenth - is our newest national holiday, following the creation of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day in 1983. President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law on June 17, 2021, officially making June 19 a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Also known as the “second Independence Day,” or “Emancipation Day,” Juneteenth is a holiday of freedom, hope and commitment to equality.
On June 19, 1865, 2,000 federal troops marched into Texas, the westernmost state in the Confederacy and the last state to acknowledge the end of slavery despite the fact that the Civil War had already ended. Major General Gordon Granger read General Orders No. 3 to the gathered populace of Galveston: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.” Granger’s proclamation in Galveston came two and a half years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and two months after General Lee’s surrender at the Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia. Click here to learn more about Juneteenth; click here to read President Biden's 2021 Proclamation creating the commemoration; and click on the book jackets below for links to titles in our catalog.
“Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory or an acceptance of the way things are. It's a celebration of progress. It's an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible—and there is still so much work to do." Barack Obama
"You must never, ever give out. We must keep the faith because we are one people. We are brothers and sisters. We all live in the same house: The American house." John Lewis