June 19, 2021 marks the 156th anniversary of the formal end of slavery across the United States; a commemorative day long-celebrated by African American communities and citizens across the nation known as Juneteenth.
The Emancipation Proclamation took effect at the start of 1863, midway through the Civil War, changing the legal status for millions of Confederate slaves—though they still needed to escape to Union-controlled territory. When the war did end in May 1865, news of Confederate surrender was slow to spread. Texas, at the time a remote slave state, became the last to recognize emancipation on June 19, 1865, when Union Major General Gordon Granger read Order Number 3 throughout the city of Galveston.
In the wake of nationwide protests, sparked by the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery Juneteenth has taken on added meaning; President Biden has made Juneteenth a Federal paid holiday.