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Celebrating liberty, equality and justice 


On June 19, 1865 -- more than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation -- Union General Gordon Granger announce to the people of Galveston, Texas that "all persons held as slaves" in the Confederate States were "thenceforward, and forever free." We can hardly imaging the celebration this news caused among the now former slaves.

Ever since then, African Americans, along with many white Americans, in Texas and other parts of the Nation observe June 19, known as Juneteenth, with picnics, family reunions, parades and community events. As President Bush declared, "Juneteenth celebrates the truth that freedom is God's gift to every man and woman. This day also recognizes the progress America has made in ensuring that our Nation lives up to our founding principles of liberty, equality, and justice, and represents an occasion to reaffirm our commitment to these principles."

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