Photos: Americans Celebrate Juneteenth After It Becomes A National Holiday

Jun 19, 2021
Originally published on June 19, 2021 4:42 pm

Juneteenth celebrations are underway across the United States, commemorating the 156th anniversary of the date that is often considered the end of chattel slavery in the country.

Events this year come two days after President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, which is the latest national holiday to be recognized since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.

It dates to June 19, 1865, when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that enslaved people were now free. This came two months after the end of the Civil War and over two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which was supposed to free all slaves living in Confederate states.

The holiday has gone on to be a cause for celebration, remembrance and a call to action as Americans continue to reckon with the country's history of systemic racism.

Commemorative events ranging from festivals and celebrations to rallies and memorials are expected to take place throughout the weekend.




Marlon F. Hall leads a yoga class next to Interstate 244, which runs through the Tulsa neighborhood of Greenwood, the location of the Tulsa Race Massacre 100 years ago. Tulsa's celebration of Juneteenth comes less than three weeks after the anniversary.
Michael B. Thomas / Getty Images



A mural displaying the words "Power To The People" is repainted in honor of Juneteenth by students studying at the University Prep Art Design. The mural was first painted last year for the holiday.
Ed White / AP



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Acting Mayor Kim Janey, right, takes a photo as Bostonians gather together on Friday in Nubian Square. Janey is the first woman and first Black person to serve as mayor of Boston.
Elise Amendola / AP