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Authored and compiled by Director of Diversity, Equity, and Student Life Toni Cross

Juneteenth marks the date, June 19, 1865, that the last populations of Black enslaved persons were made aware of their legal freed status.

But the story starts two years previous with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. 

While there are some historically significant technicalities about the Proclamation and who it freed as the country was in the throes of succession and the Civil War, it, and the thirteenth amendment, effectively ended slavery in the United States.

However, the news of this legislative act took time to take hold, especially in the Confederate states. In the westernmost state of Texas freedom finally came on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas and U.S. Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3, which informed the people of Texas that all enslaved people were now free.

Juneteenth is now a federal holiday, the newest federal holiday since Martin Luther King Day in 1983. Happy Juneteenth!

Learn more about Juneteenth from the following resources:


The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth - National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Archives Safeguards Original 'Juneteenth' General Order 

Find local ways to celebrate Juneteenth with your family with the following resources:

Juneteenth Freedom Festival - Downtown Cleveland

Juneteenth Symposium Community Talkback - Akron

Juneteenth Block Party and Vendor Fair - Larchmere

Bowling Green Juneteenth Celebration

This list is by no means exhaustive, and I urge you to find your own resources and ways to celebrate and share them with me and others in the community!

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