None of us is free until we are all free.
-- Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)
While the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on Jan. 1, 1863, many enslavers continued to hold people in bondage in the South for free labor.
On June 19, 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of slavery and the Civil War.
Juneteenth commemorates this event and is a symbolic celebration of freedom for all African Americans.
On June 17, 2021, the U.S. Congress approved a bill making Juneteenth the eleventh federal holiday. President Joe Biden signed the legislation the same day.
So why did it take more than two years for freedom to reach enslaved people in Texas?
Explore the resources in our guide to learn more about the history of Juneteenth.