In 1865 a Union Army General announced to the enslaved African American population of Galveston, Texas, that the Emancipation Proclaimation had been signed two years prior: They were free men and women.
“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”
The ancestors of those emancipated slaves have celebrated Juneteenth since that day. They called it Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day over the last one hundred and fifty plus years.
Last year, New York State declared Juneteenth an official state holiday, closing public schools and government in observation. As the first year of being on the official calendar, school closures are optional in 2021. All schools must observe the holiday beginning in 2022.
Early this month the US Senate followed the lead of NY and other states, declaring Juneteenth a national holiday! The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for a vote. You can learn more about the history and significance of this important holiday at https://juneteenth.com/