By: Tanya Kramer

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger and 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas.  

They delivered the message that all enslaved black individuals were free by executive decree.  At the time, it was believed that there were about 250,000 enslaved people in this area who were informed of their freedom.  

This message of freedom came to Galveston almost two years after President Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after the Civil War ended.  

Juneteenth, considered the oldest African American Holiday, is a blend of two words, “June” and “nineteenth”.

Opal Lee, who is 95, is considered the “grandmother of Juneteenth” because of her lifelong mission to bring national awareness to this important date with the desire for it to be a federal holiday.

On June 17, 2021, she completed this mission when President Biden signed into law Senate Bill 475 (S 475) making “Juneteenth” a federal holiday.

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