Juneteenth is also known as Emancipation Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, and Black Independence Day. In addition to marking the end of slavery in the United States, Juneteenth is a day of remembrance and an opportunity for African-Americans to honor their history and celebrate Black culture.
Ashton Villa, in Galveston, Texas.
Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2012. Highsmith Archives. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.
Union General Gordon Granger and his troops traveled to Galveston, Texas to announce General Order No. 3 on June 19th, 1865. General Order #3″ carried the message of the Emancipation Proclamation to Texas and was read aloud from the balcony of Ashton Villa in Galveston when slaves in that state at last learned that they were free.
General Order No. 3
The people are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them, become that between employer and hired labor. The freed are advised to remain at their present homes, and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.
Although the Emancipation Proclamation was formally issued on January 1, 1863, the news of it had not reached slaves in most of Texas. Union troops then needed to enforce this order throughout a large state, so that slaves were not all released on the same day in Texas — but the 19th is the day that is commemorated. Spontaneous celebrations broke out as the news spread, and these gave rise to an annual events to mark the day. As some of these freed slaves traveled to nearby states to find relatives, they carried the tradition of celebrating June 19th with them and over time it spread to all fifty states." Library of Congress Blog: Juneteenth