June 19,1865, Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence
Day, is considered the official end of slavery in the United
States. Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation went into effect
January 1, 1863. However it was not until June 19, 1865, more than two
years later, that General Gordon Granger and his Union soldiers arrived in
Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and any enslaved
people were freed by executive order. Enslaved peoples in Oklahoma,
Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas were not not freed until this date. June 19 has
long been celebrated in Black communities both in Canada and the United States.
Sadly, more than one hundred
years after the final enslaved people were freed, the history and significance
of Juneteenth remains largely unknown. This day is typically celebrated with
prayer and religious services, speeches, educational events, festivals,
barbecues and family gatherings, with food, music, and dancing. It has
been celebrated since 1865, but Texas was the first state to declare it a holiday in 1980.
This year with global Black
Lives Matter and Anti-Black Racism protests, Juneteenth has added significance.
Let us join together to honour and recognize the experiences of our brothers
and sisters and be part of the positive change we need in society.
If you would like to learn
more about Juneteenth, please visit: