The first Watch Night services were held on “Freedom’s Eve”, or the eve before January 1, 1863. Enslaved and free African Americans met in churches and private houses across the country to await news about the Emancipation Proclamation’s implementation.
All Confederate States enslaved persons were legally declared free at midnight. Union soldiers, many of them black, marched on plantations and through cities in the south, reading small copies the Emancipation Proclamation, spreading the news about freedom in Confederate States.
The Thirteenth Amendment was the only way to end slavery in the United States
However, not all Confederate territories would be immediately free. Although the Emancipation Proclamation became effective in 1863 it couldn’t be implemented in areas still under Confederate jurisdiction. Enslaved people in Texas, the westernmost Confederate State, would remain captive until much later.
On June 19, 1865, 2,000 Union soldiers arrived in Galveston Bay (Texas) and declared freedom. By executive decree, the army declared that all 250,000 state-enslaved blacks would be free. The newly-freed Texas citizens christened this day “Juneteenth“.
Reconstruction (1865-1877), the post-emancipation period, was a time of great hope, uncertainty and struggle for the nation.
People who were once enslaved sought to reunite families, create schools, run for office, push for radical legislation, and even sue slaveholders for damages. These changes were remarkable considering the 200+ years of slavery.
African Americans did not escape slavery for a generation. They were still inspired and empowered to change their lives and the country.
Juneteenth is our country’s 2nd independence day. This historic event is not only celebrated in the African American community for many years, but it’s also well-known to most Americans.
The Juneteenth historical legacy shows that there is no need to lose hope in times of uncertainty. This spirit of hope is alive and well at the National Museum of African American History and Culture . This is a place where historic events such as Juneteenth can be shared and new stories of equal urgency are told.
What was Juneteenth celebrated originally?
This holiday was first celebrated with Prayer meetings, singing spirituals, and new clothing to symbolize newfound freedom are all possible. . In just a few years, African Americans began to celebrate Juneteenth in other States, making it an annual tradition.
It is Juneteenth, why?
Juneteenth is a day to commemorate the end of slavery in America. It’s also known as Emancipation Day, Juneteenth Independence Day. The name “Juneteenth”, refers to the date of the holiday by combining the words “June” and “nineteenth
Is it OK to Say Happy Juneteenth?
Just say ‘Happy Juneteenth! ‘ It is easy to wish someone Happy Juneteenth by sending them a message and wishing them a happy day. It is important to recognize it as an American holiday.
Which state was the last to release slaves?
The final legal death of slavery New Jersey This was January 23, 1866 when Marcus L. Ward signed the first act of his governorship, a state Constitutional Amendment, which brought an end to slavery in the state.
What was the last time slaves were actually freed?
Confederate soldiers surrendered to the Union in April 1865 but word didn’t reach the last enslaved Africans until after. June 19 When Union soldiers brought the news about freedom to Galveston (Texas), Parades, barbecues and concerts have been a common part of celebrations.
How can you honor Juneteenth with respect?
- Learn more about the history.
- Center Black Voices and Stories
- Explore the Legacy of Slavery Today.
- Participate in an Event or Gathering
- Support Black Communities
- Suggestions for Reading: Juneteenth and Anti-Racism
What are the Juneteenth colors?
The Juneteenth flag has exactly the same colors as the United States flag. Red, white, and Blue . This was done to demonstrate that those who were once enslaved, and their descendants, are also free Americans.
Are banks closing in Juneteenth?
Are banks open on Juneteenth? No. Although Banks are not required to close on holidays that the U.S. Federal Reserve System recognizes, but they usually do.
Which state didn’t have slaves?
Five northern states agreed that slavery would gradually be abolished, with Pennsylvania the first to do so, and then followed by New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut.