This marks the first year that the town of Winchester will officially celebrate the holiday Juneteenth, which is the day that marks the end of slavery. But why is June 19th (or “Juneteenth”) the date that it is celebrated?
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emanicipation Proclamation, which declared slaves free. It took more than two years, however, for the news to reach Texas. It was not until June 19, 1863, when Union soldiers marched into Texas and read the Emancipation Proclamation that residents finally learned that slavery had been abolished. The former slaves immediately began to celebrate with prayer, feasting, song, and dance. The date of June 19th has since been an annual tradition in Texas and in the African American community across the country. It officially became a state holiday in Texas in 1980, and it became a national holiday in 2021.
We have created a list of books that can be used to give context to the holiday, answer questions that your child may have, and learn about a piece of American history.