Today we celebrate Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
President Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President of the United States, issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, which declared more than 3 million slaves to be freed. However, it would take two years before the news would reach parts of Texas. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and ordered all enslaved people to be freed.
The first Juneteenth celebration was held on the one year anniversary of Granger’s announcement and has been observed with celebrations and festivals since.
Santa Clara County is the first county in California to make Juneteenth a paid county holiday and has planned local events to celebrate Juneteenth.