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Juneteenth Day celebrates freedom for African Americans

Juneteenth DayOn June 19, 2022, celebrate the end of slavery in the United States and a new beginning for African Americans. Now a federal holiday signed into law by President Joe Biden, Juneteenth Day honors those who were subjected to slavery, many of whom lost their families or their lives.

Juneteenth Day commemorates June 19, 1865, when Gordon Granger, a Union general, arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that enslaved African Americans were granted their freedom and that the Civil War had ended. General Granger’s announcement carried the message of the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been issued on Jan. 1, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln.

In 1866, one year after Granger’s announcements, the first official Juneteenth celebrations took place in Texas. In less than a decade, celebrations began to spread across the country, typically including family gatherings, prayer, educational events, and festivals with music, food, and dancing. The day is now celebrated outside the United States as well, recognizing the end of slavery and celebrating the culture and achievements of African Americans.

Milwaukee will host its 51st annual Juneteenth Day observations this year. Visit for information about parades, street festivals, concerts, and more.

Observe Juneteenth Day by taking part in a celebration or supporting a Black-owned restaurant or business. Visit MKE Black and check out its business directory to find great food, services, arts, resources, shops, and more. The Sherman Phoenix is home to more than 25 small businesses and restaurants—visit for hours and offerings.

Learn more about Juneteenth Day at and the National Public Radio website.

© Milwaukee Public Schools 2022
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