Celebrating freedom © Moab Republic/Shutterstock
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, originated June 19, 1865 to recognize the day the remaining enslaved African Americans in the Confederacy were made aware of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years prior. This occurred in Texas—the most remote of the Confederate states—when Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay and read federal orders declaring that all enslaved people were free. Once a mostly regional observance, Juneteenth has in recent decades become a much broader celebration of African American freedom. This year in particular, it"s seen as a way to express support for the African American and Black community during a time of widespread protests against systemic racism and police brutality.