Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, is celebrated on June 19th of every year. This important holiday commemorates the day in 1865 that union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas, with word that the Civil War was over and all previously enslaved people were now free.
While the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863 by President Lincoln, it was not enforced in places like Texas, as few Union troops were located there. This means that enslaved people in Texas were forced to endure another two and a half years of slavery, despite being freed by the proclamation.
In 1865, Generals Lee and Gordon finally garnered enough support to overthrow the resistance in Texas and mandate that the enslaved people living in Confederate states be freed. In short, Juneteenth celebrates the ending of slavery in the United States. Although, it is important to note that slavery was not officially ended nationwide until the 13th Amendment was passed in December of 1865.
Why We Celebrate
As peaceful protests and social movements continue across the United States in response to police brutality and the unjust murders of Black people, it is important to recognize the historical significance of this holiday. Even after the 13th Amendment was passed, Black people have continued to face unbelievable obstacles and injustice in our nation. While Juneteenth celebrates a historic day of a movement towards equality, the fight is not over. We must continue to fight against injustice and support Black people and Black communities.
Today most states, including Indiana, recognize the holiday. We’re excited to see the growth of Juneteenth events in Indianapolis. Read on below to see all the events happening on Juneteenth!