Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is a holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement concerning the abolition of slavery in Texas, and more generally the emancipation of enslaved blacks throughout the former Confederacy of the southern United States.
By 1860, Texas had 182, 566 slaves or over 30 percent of the state’s total population. Most slaves lived on large cotton plantations in East Texas, according to Texas State Library and Archives. On June 19th, 1865, the Union Army occupied Texas and freed the slaves.
Its name is a portmanteau of “June” and “nineteenth”, the date of its celebration. Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in forty-five states.