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What does Juneteenth celebrate?

A mix of the words "June" and "19th," the commemoration refers to June 19, 1865, when at least 250,000 slaves were freed.



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The holiday known as Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery. A mix of the words "June" and "19th" in English, Juneteenth refers to June 19, 1865.

That day, an Army general arrived in Galveston, Texas, and informed the slaves that they were free, two months after the end of the Civil War, and two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. There were at least 250,000 people who were still slaves.

"The arrival of Major General Gordon Granger and his troops signaled that the Federal Government would not relent until the last enslaved people in America were free," the Census Bureau recalled.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture explained that the post-emancipation period, known as Reconstruction (1865-1877), marked an era of great hope, uncertainty and struggle for the nation as a whole. It recalled that formerly enslaved people immediately sought to reunify their families, establish schools, run for political office, and push for new laws.

"Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day. Although it has long celebrated in the African American community, this monumental event remains largely unknown to most Americans ... The historical legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of never giving up hope in uncertain times," the museum said.