Juneteenth is the most popular annual celebration of Emancipation in the United States. Originating in Texas, Juneteenth (officially June 19th) marks the anniversary of General George Granger’s proclamation in 1865, “the people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from he Executive of the United States, “all slaves are free.” Because news traveled slowly, especially through the South where enslavers were slow to accept the end of slavery, Granger’s proclamation came two months after the fall of Richmond, the surrender of the Confederate Army, and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
Other Emancipation dates have been commemorated across the country, including January 1st (Emancipation Proclamation signed,1863) and April 3rd (Richmond, capital of the Confederacy, fell to the Union, 1865). Over time, while many of these celebrations fell away, Juneteenth endured and spread. Texans brought the holiday with them as they moved to other states and it was embraced by Civil Rights leaders. Today, 46 states, including Virginia, recognize Juneteenth as an official state or ceremonial holiday. Since 2006, OCAAH, has hosted their annual Juneteenth Celebration in partnership with The Arts Center of Orange. In 2016, Montpelier joined as a co-host of the annual Juneteenth Celebration.
Learn Even More About the History of Juneteenth