June 19, 1865, marked the first ever Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day. This year we celebrate 157 years, making this the longest running African American holiday.
The Emancipation Proclamation was the changing day for black Americans but it was not until two years later that freedom rang. On this two-year mark, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to ensure that all enslaved people were freed. This moment was celebrated with prayer, song and new clothing to symbolize newfound freedom.
Today, Juneteenth celebrates African American freedom and emphasizes growth, achievement and education.
On June 17, 2021, it became a federal holiday.