(Photo Credits: Screengrab from the US National Archives’ Official Twitter Account)

Today marks the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, guys, and New York City has just declared it as an official holiday. In addition, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an Executive Order recognizing Juneteenth as a paid holiday for NY state workers. 

But what does Juneteenth means?

Juneteenth—a portmanteau of June and nineteenth—is also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Liberation Day. Observed every year on June 19, Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Specifically, Juneteenth commemorates the arrival of Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army together with 2000 others from federal troops in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865.  Major General Granger came to Texas to “read General Order No. 3 announcing the end of the Civil War and that all enslaved were now free, as well as to maintain a presence in Texas for the purpose of enforcement of emancipation among slave-owners throughout the state.”

This only happened over two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. And two months after the American Civil War—which ran from 12 April 1861 to 9 April 1865—had ended.

President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebel states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” This means however, that for over two years since the Emancipation Proclamation, the slavery continued on like nothing happened. 

And this is why we celebrate Juneteenth, and why Major General Granger’s announcement in Texas was important, as it underscores a pivotal moment in history. 

Today, Juneteenth is celebrated in 47 states in the US either as a holiday or observance, save for the following: North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. 

Meanwhile, senators had proposed a bill on Friday to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. Read more here.

How does your state observe Juneteenth, guys? How do you and your family celebrate it? Share with us your thoughts and stories in the comments section below.

Happy Juneteenth, y’all!

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