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Since 1866, Juneteenth has been celebrated on June 19th in the United States. It is the longest running African-American holiday celebrated in the United States, and commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people after the end of the Civil War. Other names for the annual celebration are Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day. Juneteenth is celebrated with family reunions, community gatherings, and events that celebrate African-American history and culture. 

Although Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862, the end of slavery could only be enforced in states and territories under Union control. The Civil War raged two and a half more years until the surrender of the Confederacy on April 9, 1865. Two months later on June 19, 1865, Union Army general Gordon Granger reached Texas, the last holdout in the South, and proclaimed freedom for all enslaved persons. It is the anniversary of this date that is now known as Juneteenth or America’s Second Independence Day.

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