On January 1, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation "freeing all enslaved people in the states currently engaged in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”
Though Lincoln didn't exactly "free" the nearly four million slaves, signing the order helped to change his views on slavery.
Juneteenth marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The Emancipation Proclamation had been signed two and a half years earlier. Juneteenth holiday honors the effective end of slavery in the U.S.
So why is Juneteenth so important to Black Americans?
Juneteenth – a combination of the words June and Nineteenth – commemorates when the last enslaved people in the south were finally set free. Many slaves were met with violence or death when they tried to leave, yet the promise of freedom extinguished fear and fueled generations of indestructible people.