Skip to Main Content


Juneteenth is a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. This guide highlights resources about this important celebration.

About This Guide

This guide provides a starting point to learn about Juneteenth, which is celebrated annually on June 19. The UD community is welcome to suggest resources, guides, or any other information by emailing

What is Juneteenth?

"Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. It is also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, and Black Independence Day. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the civil war and the end of slavery. Although the Emancipation Proclamation came 2½ years earlier on January 1, 1863, many enslavers continued to hold enslaved Black people captive after the announcement, and Juneteenth became a symbolic date representing African-American freedom. Juneteenth became a federal holiday on June 17, 2021. Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as a holiday or observance."

From Juneteenth Fact Sheet (Congressional Research Service)

It is important to note that while the Emancipation Proclamation did emancipate enslaved peoples in the Confederate states, slavery was not truly abolished in the United States until the ratification of the 13th Amendment on December 6, 1865. This meant two border states (states that were slaveholding states but chose not to join the Confedaracy), Delaware and Kentucky, still allowed slavery until ratification of the amendment took place. While Juneteenth is an important national commemoration of Black freedom, we recognize the importance of honoring the memory of enslaved peoples who did not gain their freedom on June 19, 1865.

From The Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery. Here’s what did. (Washington Post)

The history behind Juneteenth and why it resonates today

chat loading...