5 Interesting Facts About Juneteenth

Posted by Maggie Coffey, Contributing Writer, on Jun 12, 2022

5 Interesting Facts About Juneteenth

Juneteenth marks the date of June 19, 1865 in celebration of the day that troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce and enforce emancipation for enslaved people. Although Juneteenth is becoming more widely observed, many people don't know what the day represents. It’s important to know what this federal holiday stands for and how the date it commemorates changed our nation. We have compiled five interesting facts about Juneteenth, below:

1. Juneteenth occurred two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

In 1862, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, an order that abolished slavery and proclaimed all slaves were to be set free. While this was a monumental event, the news was slow to make its way to the Southern states. It wasn’t until two and a half years after the Proclamation was announced that federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to deliver the news on June 19, 1865.

Since this day saw the Emancipation Proclamation reach the entire nation, June 19 became the official day of celebration! A year later, it became known as "Juneteenth."


2. Juneteenth was not recognized as a federal holiday until June 2021.

While Juneteenth is a widely known and celebrated holiday, it was not actually recognized as a federal holiday until June 17, 2021. In 1980, Texas was the first state to declare Juneteenth a state holiday, and afterwards, many other states followed Texas' lead. In 1997, Congress passed legislation to commemorate June 19, 1865, as “Juneteenth Independence Day” and encouraged its celebration as an opportunity to learn about American history and how that history has shaped our nation today.


3. Juneteenth has been celebrated by the African American community since 1866.

Public observances of Juneteenth are a long-standing tradition. In 1866, small Juneteenth celebrations began in church-centered community gatherings. In 1867, the Freedmen’s Bureau organized the first large-scale Juneteenth commemoration. The Freedmen’s Bureau was a government agency established to help newly liberated slaves navigate the aftermath of the Civil War and support them on their path to freedom. In the beginning, Juneteenth was celebrated in the streets of Galveston, TX, because it was difficult to celebrate in public parks due to segregation laws.

In 1872, a group of African American leaders in the community came together and raised $800 to purchase 10 acres of land in Houston, TX. They called this the Emancipation Park, which underwent a $33.5 million renovation in 2016 and was rededicated in the summer of 2017. The renovation helped the architecture tell the story of Juneteenth--the story of oppression, struggle, freedom, and hope.


4. Juneteenth has its own commemorative flag.

In 1997, Ben Haith, founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF), designed the first national Juneteenth commemorative flag. In 2000, the design underwent a revision by Designer L.J. Graf, which is the modern-day flag you will find displayed today.

The commemorative flag is full of symbolism. Its colors, red, white, and blue, symbolize the fact that the enslaved people and their descendants are AmericanThe bursting star in the middle represents Texas and the newfound freedom bursting throughout the land. The flag represents the importance of African American history and of American freedom for all people.

This year, you will find the Juneteenth flag being raised in commemorative ceremonies throughout our nation. It is a reminder of the struggles of the African American community as they fought for freedom and the importance of being committed to racial equality and justice today.

5. Juneteenth is regaining popularity and recognition.


Today, Juneteenth is recognized and celebrated around the world. Juneteenth has always been a day intended for the celebration of freedom. Today, it is more than just a celebration; it is a time of reflection. It gives us the space to learn more about the significance of this important day and to have conversations with people who come from different backgrounds and experiences. It can be a step toward reconciliation and healing as we strive to achieve racial equality and justice in our world.

This Juneteenth, there is a great opportunity to be here for good as we celebrate this day of freedom, pray for justice and against racism, and strive to make a difference right where we are.

Share This:

Recent Stories

Swipe to Discover more

How Can Christians Better Love the LGBT+ Community?

Jun 30, 2022

What does it look like for Christians and the church to love the LGBTQ+ community the way Jesus does?


Five Local Firework Displays to Celebrate July Fourth in DFW

Jun 28, 2022

Nothing says “Fourth of July” quite like fireworks! Find some of the best and most spectacular displays around town, right here.


How Domestic Violence Impacts Our Community

Jun 23, 2022

Domestic violence is a real, ongoing, but often hidden issue. We need to be aware of its impact on our community and give a voice to the survivors.


VBX 2022: A "Monumental" Week

Jun 21, 2022

What happens when you mix hundreds of kids, dozens of volunteers, countless hours of prayer and preparation, and a powerful, loving God for four fun-filled summer evenings?


From a Grad's Dad: Advice to Parents of New Graduates

Jun 19, 2022

Graduation marks the end of one stage and the start of another. Chase Oaks Woodbridge Campus Pastor (and grad dad) Todd Baughman offers his "Top 10" advice for parents of new graduates.


How Leaders Can Develop Good Judgment

Jun 16, 2022

Leaders know that good decisions rely on good judgment. Chase Oaks Executive Pastor Jack Warren shares some practical ways to develop this key ingredient of effective leadership.


Juneteenth: A Conversation with Artist Sedrick Huckaby

Jun 15, 2022

Artist Sedrick Huckaby shares about the history and significance of Juneteenth, a national celebration of freedom.


Where To Celebrate Juneteenth in DFW

Jun 14, 2022

Where in DFW can you celebrate Juneteenth? Use our list of events to make plans in honor of this national holiday of freedom.


5 Interesting Facts About Juneteenth

Jun 12, 2022

Juneteenth commemorates the day the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas. It's a celebration of hope and freedom for all peoples that followed years of struggle.


How To Love Our LGBTQ+ Friends

Jun 08, 2022

No matter what our beliefs are about same-sex attraction and relationships, there are ways we can love our LGBTQ+ friends well and work to create community and intimacy within our doors.