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Danville Independent Schools

Graphic reads "June 19 is Juneteenth. Here are 5 facts about the federal holiday."

All schools and Central Office in the Danville Independent School District will be closed on June 19, the Juneteenth holiday.

What is Juneteenth?

A federal holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. Keep reading for facts about the holiday, and where some celebrations are happening locally.


President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act on June 17, 2021. This officially made Juneteenth a federal holiday. Throughout history, Juneteenth has been celebrated under several names, including Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Cel-Liberation Day, Second Independence Day, & Emancipation Day.


Why June 19? On June 19, 1865, the summer the Civil War ended, "Union General Gordon Granger and his troops traveled to Galveston, Texas, to announce General Orders No. 3," according to The American Battlefield Trust. General Orders No. 3 announced that "in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free."


Though the Emancipation Proclamation took effect in 1863, it took time to enforce, and it only applied to rebelling states. This did not include Kentucky, which was a border state during the Civil War. According to LEX18, scholars say Kentucky "still participated in slavery until the 13th Amendment was ratified in December 1865." That's about six months after the announcement of General Orders No. 3 in Texas.


"Emancipation Park in Houston, Texas, was bought specifically to celebrate Juneteenth," according to The American Battlefield Trust. It was a 10-acre land parcel bought by former slaves, Richard Allen, Richard Brock, Jack Yates, and Elias Dibble.


Juneteenth celebrations declined in the early 20th century as Jim Crow laws limited celebrations of freedom, and the Great Depression also made things difficult. The civil rights movement brought with it a revival of Juneteenth celebrations. Martin Luther King, Jr. scheduled The Poor People's March to line up with the date.

Facts were compiled from LEX 18 and The American Battlefield Trust.


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