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Glendale Celebrates Juneteenth: History and Resources

Glendale Celebrates Juneteenth

History and Resources

The word “Juneteenth” comes from the combination of “June” and 19th”, and is an annual commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free."

Despite this expansive wording, the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t instantly free any slaves. The proclamation only applied to places under Confederate control and not to slave-holding border states or rebel areas already under Union control. Although the end of slavery was declared in 1863, slavery continued in Texas as the state experienced no large-scale fighting or significant presence of Union troops.

It was not until June 19, 1865, about two months after the Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, that Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved African-Americans of their freedom and that the Civil War had ended. General Granger’s announcement put into effect the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been issued more than two and a half years earlier. General Granger stood on Texas soil and read General Orders No. 3: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

Now, 155 years later, people in cities and towns across the U.S. continue to mark the occasion with celebrations. The original celebration became an annual one, and it grew in popularity over the years with the addition of descendants, according to, which tracks celebrations. The day was celebrated by praying and bringing families together. In some celebrations on this day, men and women who had been enslaved, and their descendants, made an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston.

Glendale Library has created a reading list called Black Lives, Black Stories, which amplifies Black stories and those of other under-represented communities to promote equality, awareness, and inclusion, and to support those looking to start difficult but necessary conversations. It also provides further education about the Black experience and how we can work together to create a more just society. Click here for that list.

Over the past week, Glendale Community College’s Social Sciences Division and their Student Equity program hosted a lecture series titled, “Deconstructing Racism: A Persistent American Challenge.” These workshops have been archived and can be viewed here.

The Glendale community is extremely diverse, and now, more than ever, it’s important for us to find moments of connection as a community and to increase dialogue as a step toward recognizing and rectifying historical injustice. In celebration of Juneteenth, we encourage all of our community members to take that first step and research, learn, and participate in discussions around Black culture and history.


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