This year, Juneteenth is celebrated on Monday, June 19, 2017.
For African-Americans, the day is a heartfelt observance that celebrates the final abolition of slavery in the US on June 19, 1865.
But wasn't the Emancipation Proclamation signed on January 1, 1863, not June 19, 1865?
While the Emancipation Proclamation was enacted in 1863, Texas was slow to recognize the rights of former slaves. Incredibly, it took more than two years before federal troops finally marched into Galveston to enforce the law of the land.
The date was June 19, 1865 marking the end of slavery in the United States completely and forevermore.
Meanwhile, former slaves and their families reacted with long-awaited jubilation. In the popular vernacular, June 19th was soon shortened to Juneteenth. The first Juneteenth celebration took place the next year -- and every year afterward -- both in Texas and in other states throughout the South.
Juneteenth celebration in Austin, Texas 1900.
Today, ways to celebrate the final end of slavery in the United States might range from modern jazz concerts and museum exhibits to church services, neighborhood block parties and parades.
Flag raisings have also become another popular way to mark the day. in a tradition that first began in 1997 with the creation of the Juneteenth flag depicting the lone star of Texas rising over a new horizon.
Of course, a Juneteenth flag raising ceremony wouldn't be complete without a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the playing of the national anthem.
Juneteenth Fun Facts
The Juneteenth flag depicts the Texas
lone star rising over a new horizon.
• Juneteenth is the oldest holiday ever to celebrate the end of slavery in the US.
• Today, Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or day of observance in 42 states.
• The origins of serving strawberry soda pop at Juneteenth picnics is unknown, but the tradition continues to this day.
• Some towns and cities sponsor Juneteenth beauty pageants offering educational scholarships and other prizes awarded to one lucky young woman crowned "Miss Juneteenth."
• Juneteenth is also known throughout the country as Independence Day, Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day, but the meaning remains the same.
• Although "Lift Every Voice and Sing" is the official anthem of Juneteenth, other popular songs appearing on Juneteenth music playlists include "Swing Low Sweet Charity," Billy Holiday's "God Bless The Child", Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," and The Staple Singers' "Freedom Highway".