This Day in Black History: June 19, 1865

The first Juneteenth celebration was held.

Posted: 06/19/2012 07:00 AM EDT

Juneteenth marks the day on which slaves in Texas first learned that slavery had been abolished. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed and in effect since Jan. 1, 1863, the news didn't reach the Lone Star State until June 19, 1865, but was still cause for a grand celebration.

 

Since then, generations of African-Americans in states around the nation have marked Juneteenth, or African-American Independence Day, with festivities both large and small that can last a day or a week. It is "a time of celebration, but also a time of reflection, healing, and hopefully a time for the country to come together and deal with its slave legacy," Rev. Ronald V. Meyers, chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, told Time magazine.

 

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