Origin Stories Behind 20 Holidays

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Juneteenth

Juneteenth is the commemoration of the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865, which marked the emancipation of 250,000 enslaved black people who had not yet learned that President Abraham Lincoln had abolished slavery 30 months earlier. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued on Jan. 1, 1863, but it wasn’t until Juneteenth that Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston to spread the word.

Though even then, newly freed slaves were encouraged to stay put: “The freedmen are advised to remain quietly 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,” Gen. Granger said.

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