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Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is an annual holiday, celebrated on June 19 in the United States, and commemorating the end of slavery. The holiday originated in Texas; for more than a century, this state was the primary home of Juneteenth celebrations. More recently, however, its observance has spread across the nation.
Though the Emancipation Proclamation had taken effect on January 1, 1863, it had little immediate effect on most slaves' day-to-day lives, particularly in Texas, which was almost entirely under Confederate control. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take possession of the state and enforce slaves' new freedoms.
Juneteenth celebrations began in Texas the following year. Across many parts of Texas, freed slaves pooled their funds to purchase land specifically for their communities' increasingly Iarge Juneteenth gatherings — including Houston's Emancipation Park, Mexia's Booker T. Washington Park, and Emancipation Park in Austin. Within a few years, these celebrations had spread to other states and become an annual tradition.