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Sunday, June 19th, was Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery. While the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1st, 1863, federal troops did not arrive to Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and to make sure that all enslaved people were free, until June 19th, 1865.1 This date honors the end of slavery in the United States and is now also a federal holiday.

For years Juneteenth commemorations have featured live music, barbeques, and prayers, among many other activities. The commemorations quickly spread throughout the nation following the migration of Black people from Texas to other parts of the country.

Juneteenth is a celebration, but also a reminder of the racial justice work that still needs to be accomplished to tear down slavery’s lasting legacy. Juneteenth also presents an opportunity to learn about Black history. The National Museum of African American History and Culture has curated a reading list. Click here if you want to learn more about Juneteenth and African American cultural traditions.