Celebrate Juneteenth in Greensboro
Juneteenth has a rich history in the African American community. During the Civil War, the emancipation of enslaved people did not come on one specific date. For enslaved people in Texas, they were one of the last groups to be freed.
On “Freedom’s Eve,” or the eve of January 1, 1863, the first Watch Night services took place. On that night, enslaved and free African Americans gathered across the country awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation had taken effect. At midnight, all enslaved people in the Confederate States were declared legally free. Union soldiers, many of whom were black, marched onto plantations and across cities in the South, spreading the news of freedom in the Confederate States. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, it could not be implemented in places still under Confederate control. As a result, in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, enslaved people would not be freed until much later. Freedom finally came on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The army announced that more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as “Juneteenth,” by the newly freed people in Texas.
Following the end of slavery in Texas, many African Americans held celebrations proclaiming their freedom. Today, Juneteenth is widely recognized and celebrated nationwide in 47 states and the District of Columbia. The Greensboro City Council unanimously approved Juneteenth as a paid holiday for city employees in 2021. Celebrate Juneteenth 2022 in Greensboro with a weekend of festivities.
The Juneteenth GSO Fest is Greensboro’s most accessible festival highlighting the celebration of freedom and Black Culture over a series of events taking place June 16 – 19 throughout the city of Greensboro. Click here for event updates.