Do you know which day in June marks the holiday that is known today as Juneteenth?
Why is that day in June celebrated?
Visit the Library where you can see our Juneteenth display and find answers to these questions and more.
On June 18th, 1865 troops took shore on the island of Galveston to enforce the emancipation of slaves that had been freed some two years before. The next day it was publicly announced that all slaves were to be free and that right to freedom would be upheld by the law. June 19th 1865, would be known from that point as Juneteenth and signified a celebration of freedom.
For many years the celebration grew in size and locations were purchased just for the purpose of gathering. As economic status and cultural forces grew, celebrations began to decline. With the rise of rallies and marches of the Civil Rights movement, many individuals began an effort to recognize this day of celebration within their communities once again. In 1980 the event became a Texas State Holiday. Juneteenth’s observance has spread to many other states and is also observed in a few other countries. In 1996 the first legislation to recognize “Juneteenth Independence Day” was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1997 Congress recognized the day through Senate Joint Resolution 11 and House Joint Resolution 56.
In his national bestseller, Juneteenth, Ralph Ellison writes the following quote in honor of the many freed slaves and offers a glimpse at what they might have felt:
“But what a feeling can come over a man just from seeing the things he believes in and hopes for symbolized in the concrete form of a man. In something that gives a focus to all the other things he knows to be real. Something that makes unseen things manifest and allows him to come to his hopes and dreams through his outer eye and through the touch and feel of his natural hand.”
The next time you visit the Library, be sure to come see the display as you enter the front doors promoting materials for Juneteenth and other African American History.
Don’t forget to check out our selection of available resources.
Library Owned Books