Many nationwide are celebrating the day Union troops notified enslaved Black people in Confederate Texas territories that they were free.
Today (June 19) is Juneteenth. Over 100 years ago, Major General Gordon Granger issued an order proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Galveston on June 19, 1865. Hundreds have gathered every year since the emancipation of enslaved African Americans to commemorate the historic moment.
In 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law. The legislation added the anniversary date to the government holiday calendar, making it a national occasion. “Today (June 17, 2021), we consecrate Juneteenth for what it ought to be, what it must be: a national holiday,” Biden previously said. “As the vice president noted, a holiday that will join the others of our national celebrations: our independence, our laborers who built this nation, our servicemen and women who served and died in its defense.”
This Monday, citizens online, including former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, continue to honor the day all Black people were free in the States. “On Juneteenth, we commemorate the anniversary of the delayed but welcome news of freedom reaching the enslaved Black folks in Galveston, Texas. It’s a reminder that even in the darkest hours, there is a cause to hope — and a reason to keep building a country that lives up [to] its highest ideals,” he wrote.
“Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom — a chance to pay tribute to countless advocates, activists, and change-makers and the work they did to build a more perfect Union,” Michelle tweeted. “I can’t think of a more meaningful way to honor the actions of so many who came before us than by registering to vote.”
Check out how other Twitter users celebrated the third year of Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday and its historic meaning below: