BY: FRANCE-ELVIE BANDA
On June 19th, 1865, Union troops rode to Galveston, Tex., to announce the ending of slavery. Two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, over 25,000 enslaved Africans in Texas were finally informed of their freedom, and legalized chattel slavery in the U.S. was formally abolished across the country.
Juneteenth, a combination of June and 19 to honor the date the decree was made, has remained a momentous celebration for African Americans, with official celebrations beginning in 1866. Often referred to as Black Independence Day, it is the longest running African American holiday and one of the oldest U.S. holidays.