• On June 19, 1866, former slaves in Galveston, Texas, celebrated a year of emancipation with the “Juneteenth” holiday. Juneteenth celebrations quickly spread to the rest of the country, and the date continues to be the oldest known tradition honoring the end of slavery in the U.S.
     
    In Texas, former slaves almost immediately organized and purchased lands as “emancipation grounds” for the annual Juneteenth gathering. Emancipation Park (formerly the Colored Emancipation Park) in Houston, Emancipation Park in Austin, and Emancipation Park in Mexia (now Booker T. Washington Park) were all created as sites for Juneteenth celebrations.
     
    Today, Juneteenth celebrations include picnics, rodeos, barbeques, parades, and readings of the Emancipation Proclamation and the work of African-American authors such as Ralph Ellison, whose posthumously published second novel is titled Juneteenth.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    affiliate Verb

    to associate or connect to something else.

    annual Adjective

    yearly.

    celebrate Verb

    to observe or mark an important event with public and private ceremonies or festivities.

    emancipation Noun

    freedom.

    Emancipation Proclamation Noun

    (1863) declaration by President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War that freed all people held as slaves in most rebellious states.

    immediately Adverb

    at once or quickly.

    novel Noun

    fictional narrative or story.

    posthumous Adjective

    happening after one's death.

    purchase Verb

    to buy.

    slave Noun

    person who is owned by another person or group of people.

    tradition Noun

    beliefs, customs, and cultural characteristics handed down from one generation to the next.

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