June 19, 1865 – Juneteenth –  is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. At its heart, Juneteenth is a day of celebration of the journey and freedom of Black people in the United States.

The Facts

When the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862, it was established that all enslaved people would be forever free. Unfortunately, this didn’t instantly free all slaves and only applied to those under Confederate control.

On June 19, 1865, almost two years later, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Texas with federal orders and proclaimed the emancipation of the last remaining enslaved people. Although it didn’t happen overnight, a celebration broke out among newly freed Black people and Juneteenth was born.

Since then, over 150 years later, people across the United States commemorate African American freedom by celebrating, reflecting, and rejoicing to acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence society today.

Additional Resources


Zoom Backgrounds
Virtual backgrounds are one of the easiest ways to celebrate Juneteenth in our new virtual world. on June 19th, you can replace your normal backdrop with one of our premade Juneteenth backgrounds.

Right-click the image then save as to your computer. Open your Zoom application and update your background to the file you saved from this page.

Social Media Prompt
Use your personal social media to show what Juneteenth means to you. Take a picture, record a video, draw an illustration, or write down on a piece of paper what freedom means to you. Reflect on how important your freedom and what it would mean if you did not have that freedom.

If you do not have social media or do not feel comfortable posting on your social media complete the activity and share with a close friend or family member.