Celebrating Juneteenth: Five things to know about the holiday

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Tuesday, June 16, 2020
5 things to know about Juneteenth
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.

HOUSTON, TX (KTRK) -- --Although the Emancipation Proclamation was enacted in 1863, the news didn't reach Texas until two and a half years later. On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with 2000 troops to take federal control of the state and ensure all people were free from slavery.

--Texas was the last state to receive the news that the Civil War was over and slavery had been abolished. President Lincoln was assassinated two months before Juneteenth. The word "Juneteenth" is a portmanteau of "June" and "nineteenth", the date of its celebration.

--General Granger read the proclamation while standing on the balcony of Ashton Villa on Broadway St. in Galveston. Ashton Villa is a former Confederate base that was taken over by the Union army during and after the Civil War. Now, the building is a designated historical landmark that's popular for weddings and other events.

--In 1980, Texas became the first state to declare Juneteenth a state holiday. Texas state representative Al Edwards introduced the legislation, and today, 47 states recognize the day as a state holiday. Juneteenth is not a federal holiday.

--This year, multiple American companies, including Twitter, Square, and Nike have announced plans to make Juneteenth an annual official paid company holiday.