President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free."
Some African Americans celebrated as their prayers had been answered that the Emancipation Proclamation had taken effect. Enslaved slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free. Soldiers from the Union side, many of whom were black, marched onto plantations and across cities in the south reading small copies of the Emancipation Proclamation.
However, unfortunately, not everyone in Confederate territory would immediately be free. The Emanicpation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, but it could not be implemented in places still under Confederate control. In the Confederate state of Texas, freedom would not officially arrive until June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state, were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as "Juneteenth," by the newly freed people in Texas.
Please listen to The Museum SFV's board member and President of the Pacoima Historical Society speak about her family and this holiday.
The Museum SFV and community celebrate Juneteenth holiday.