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History of and Legacy of Juneteenth

Juneteenth Commemorates the ending of chattel slavery in the United States. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, in which he ordered the freedom of all enslaved people in the confederate states. However, the enslavement of African Americans continued in remote states like Texas. The enslavement of African-Americans in these remote states continued after the surrender of Robert E. Lee and his confederate troops on April 9, 1865.

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger lead troops into Galveston Texas, and proclaimed the end of slavery in the state. Black Texans began celebrating the anniversary, naming the day Juneteenth, and the celebrations spread to other states. Juneteenth is often recognized as the day all Americans gained independence. However, since the Emancipation Proclamation only declared freedom to enslaved people in the Confederate states, slavery continued in several border states loyal to the Union. Chattel Slavery was not formally abolished until the ratification of the 13th amendment in December 1865.

Juneteenth is a time to recognize the ending of slavery in the United States, honor and celebrate Black culture, and recognize the importance of challenging systemic racism in the contemporary United States, including the loopholes in the 13th amendment that still permit some forms of slavery. Explore the links and videos below to learn more about the history and the contemporary importance of Juneteenth

Juneteenth in Massachusetts

On June 19, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker signed a proclamation declaring June 19, 2020, Juneteenth Independence Day. In July 2020, the Governor signed a bill that recognizes Juneteenth as a holiday in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Governor Baker wrote that Juneteenth will be a time "to recognize the continued need to ensure racial freedom and equality."

Juneteenth at the Danforth

The Danforth Art Museum is proud to join in organizations nationwide in celebrating Juneteenth! Visit the museum to view the art of local Black artist Meta Warrick Fuller.

Educators at the Danforth Art Museum have created a lesson plan on Celebrating Emancipation through the art of Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller. The lesson is designed for upper middle-school aged students, but can be adapted for a younger or older audience.