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Diversity and Inclusion

Juneteenth Celebration

June 12, 2024 at 3:00pm4:30pm EDT

Barner-McDuffie House

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Join the Barner-McDuffie House as we commemorate Juneteenth, a day that honors the emancipation of African Americans in the United States. Join us in celebrating freedom. Stay for the red foods, camaraderie and fun games. Make sure to register online if you plan to attend!

More About Juneteenth

On June 17, 2021, President Biden signed a bill making June 19—known as Juneteenth—a federal holiday. Although Juneteenth has been celebrated in African American communities since its inception over a century and a half ago, many white Americans only learned about it recently. If you’re among those still learning about the holiday and you’re not sure exactly what it’s about, read on to learn more about Juneteenth history and the federal holiday.

What Is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth celebrates the day enslaved Africans were emancipated in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865.

To comprehend the meaning of this holiday, it helps to understand a few things about Civil War history. You might know that the American Civil War began on April 12, 1861, and that it officially ended almost exactly four years later on April 9, 1865. This was the date on which Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox, Virginia.

News traveled slowly and by letter in those days, and as a result, it wasn’t until two months afterward that Union General Gordon Granger came to Galveston, Texas, with about 2,000 Union troops to inform the community that the war was over and African Americans could no longer be legally enslaved. He arrived on June 19, 1865, and it’s on this day each year that Juneteenth is celebrated. Because it was the last place to learn the news, Galveston is considered the true birthplace of Juneteenth.

Why Is It Called Juneteenth?

To anyone unfamiliar with its history, the exact date indicated by “Juneteenth” might seem a little vague. As a reference to the date General Granger arrived in Galveston, it was coined as a simple combination of the words “June” and “nineteenth.” Because Juneteenth is effectively America’s second independence day, the holiday is also known as “Juneteenth Independence Day,” “Freedom Day” and “Emancipation Day.”

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This event was first published on May 16, 2024 and last updated on May 28, 2024.

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