On June 19th, 1865, one of the last chapters of slavery in Texas had been officially closed. After the Emancipation Proclamation, many slave owners went to Texas to continue slavery, ignoring the Proclamation. The Union Soldiers that were led by Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that slaves were in fact emancipated. (Granger read General Orders #3 stating that all slaves were free.)
On paper, our beautiful ancestors in Texas were free, but they were not aware of it. In fact, Texas slave owners did not recognize nor honor their freedom, leaving at least 250,000 Blacks enslaved for two more years. Even after Granger gave the orders, many slave owners waited until the end of the cotton harvest season (VERY DESPICABLE). Unfortunately, although slaves were freed,many were beaten, lynched and murdered due to their slave masters anger, racism and horrific nature.
Currently 47 states recognize "Juneteenth" as a special holiday. On this day, family and friends come together to celebrate through barbecue, and foods and drinks of red color are popular to remind people of the blood spilled from our ancestors during slavery. Many also gather for parades and many other festivities for celebration of Juneteenth.
On January 1, 1980, Texas became the first state to proclaim Juneteenth a holiday. By 2008, all states except Hawaii, North Dakota and South Dakota recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or a day of observance. Juneteenth has still not been declared a national holiday.