Skip to content

Do You Celebrate Juneteenth?

Bell ringer statue in Granbury, TX (photo by Tui Snider)
Bell ringer statue in Granbury, TX (photo by Tui Snider)

What the Heck is Juneteenth?

In this era of cell phones and social networking, it’s easy to forget news did not always travel so quickly. Case in point: even though Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22nd, 1862, slaves in Texas did not learn of their freedom until nearly two and a half years later!

Can you imagine finding out that you were no longer a slave, and that you had actually been free for the past two years?

Juneteenth celebrates the day Texans finally got wind of this tremendous news!

Here’s the story in a nut shell: Union General Gordon Granger, backed by federal troops, took possession of Texas on June 18th, 1865. The very next day, General Granger gave a public reading of the Emancipation Proclamation from a balcony in Galveston.

The date can vary: Juneteenth is the annual holiday celebrating this historical event, and is often celebrated on both June 18th and 19th.

Other states celebrate Juneteenth: Texas isn’t the only state to celebrate Juneteenth, but it’s not a federal holiday. I had never heard of Juneteenth until I moved to Texas. I’m surprised it’s not more widely known.

How do People Celebrate Juneteenth?

In the beginning, Juneteenth celebrations were more like political rallies than parties. These gatherings served an important purpose, to let former slaves know what their rights were as free citizens. I’m not sure who came up with the name Juneteenth, but it’s far catchier than “Emancipation Day” or “Freedom Day,” which is probably why those synonyms are not as widely used.

Nowadays, Juneteenth celebrations are treated more like the Fourth of July. Some folks host private parties, while others find local events to attend. Are there any Juneteenth celebrations happening where you live?

Here in Texas, Juneteenth has been officially recognized as a holiday since 1980. While banks and state offices remain open, some people choose to take a day or two off for observance.

Want more quirky, offbeat & overlooked tidbits?

Click here to see my books on Amazon.

Hey, you! Want to come along for the ride?

No matter where you live in the galaxy, Tui's books can take you on a FUN adventure!
No matter where you live in the galaxy, Tui Snider’s books can take you on a FUN adventure!

PRIVATE NEWSLETTER: If you’d like to keep up with me, you might like my newsletter. It comes out every Sunday. Use the form below to sign up if you’d like to:

  • Know where I speak next
  • Find out when my next books come out
  • Learn offbeat trivia
  • See unique cemetery & travel photos
  • Be in the loop for any other fun news!

FREEBIE: As a thank you for signing up to my newsletter, you’ll receive a historic cemetery symbols guide I created called “A Quick Guide to The Many Meanings of Hands.”

Tui Snider
Follow me:
Published inBlog on Writing & LifeBlog PoststexasTravel Photo Essays


  1. This was a good post, Tui. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Thank you, Lydia! I appreciate you retweet, too. :)

    • Thank you, Lydia! I appreciate your retweet, too. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.