Juneteenth 101

The path to Juneteenth began with the 1860 presidential election, where the nation grappled with the pressing issue of slavery and states’ rights. The formation of the Confederacy and the subsequent Civil War shed light on the Confederacy’s staunch determination to protect the institution of slavery. However, amidst the turmoil, the voices of abolitionists like Frederick Douglass resonated, advocating for enlisting black soldiers in the Union Army.

The turning point came with the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, a proclamation that paved the way for the liberation of enslaved individuals. As the war raged on, the signing of the 13th Amendment solidified the abolition of slavery, setting the stage for the commemoration of Juneteenth.

At Juneteenth Speaks, we honor the resilience, bravery, and unwavering determination of those who fought for freedom. Join us as we delve into the historical timeline, shedding light on the struggles and triumphs that ultimately led to the birth of Juneteenth. Together, let us celebrate and embrace this momentous occasion’s significance as we strive for a more just and equal society.

June 16, 1858:
Abraham Lincoln accepts the Republican nomination for President.
June 19, 1862
Law Enacting Emancipation in the Federal Territories is enacted.

September 22, 1862:

President Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation.


April 1861:
The Civil War begins with the attack on Fort Sumter.


January 1, 1863:
Emancipation Proclamation goes into effect.

February 1863:

54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, the first black regiment in the North, is formed.

July 18, 1863:

54th Massachusetts storms Fort Wagner, a significant event depicted in the movie “Glory.”


April 9, 1865:

General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, effectively ending the Civil War.

June 19, 1865:

Major General Gordon Granger arrives in Galveston, Texas, and announces the freedom of enslaved people, marking the beginning of Juneteenth.

December 18, 1865:

13th Amendment is ratified, abolishing slavery.

June 1866:
The official end of slavery is declared in Indian Territory through treaties with Native American tribes
The “Modern Juneteenth Movement” begins with a meeting of Juneteenth leaders in New Orleans.


Congress officially passes legislation recognizing Juneteenth as “Juneteenth Independence Day” in America.



46 states and the District of Columbia have officially recognized Juneteenth through legislation.