Juneteenth marked a turning point in the fight to free fellow humans from the bonds of slavery, and African Americans in Texas celebrated it as a day of freedom. There were other options for an official holiday marking the end of slavery, including September 22, which was the day in 1862 when Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation Order on January 31, the date the 13th Amendment passed Congress in 1865 and officially abolished the institution of slavery. However, it was Juneteenth that stuck. Freedom finally came on June 19, 1865 when 2,000 Union Troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state were free by executive decree.
In 1979 Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. Now the day more widely represents the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans.
Juneteenth is now the 11th National Federal holiday. To celebrate this historic day, events will take place around the country. This year, many are also calling for a day of action as a reminder that the struggle for equality and racial justice is far from over.
CWA will continue to fight for Equality for all. We recognize that the echoes of the past still reverberate today. CWA works tirelessly to end discrimination and inequality.