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These Photos Show Why You Should Celebrate Juneteenth

The Emancipation Proclamation marked the end of the legalized institution of slavery in America, but in the small town of Galveston Island, Texas, black slaves had been carrying on their lives of bondage and subjugation, oblivious to the fact that they were actually free. On June 19th, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger and his band of Union soldiers (who had been traveling throughout the South for two years spreading the word) arrived at Galveston Island to tell the last remaining slaves in the United States that they were finally free. The day became known as “Juneteenth,” a kind of Independence Day for African-Americans, a day of celebration and remembrance. Juneteenth is a state holiday in Texas, and is officially celebrated in 43 states in America, usually with parades, barbecues and memorial ceremonies. But Juneteenth isn’t recognized as a federal holiday (though attempts have been made), and for that reason few people get to publicly celebrate it or are evenaware of its existence and legacy. And that’s a shame, because Juneteenth is an opportunity for black people to truly celebrate all that they’ve overcome through the power of community. Below are photos of Juneteenth celebrations across the country, over the years, that capture the beauty of the holiday: David Paul Morris via Getty Images Missionary Pepper shows off the ribs she grilled for the cook-off contest at the 2004 Juneteenth celebrations at Nichol Park in Richmond, California. ASSOCIATED PRESS Daryl McCullick, left, Ivan Pena, center, and Tariq Sabur perform Capoeira Angola, an African Brazilian martial art, at the annual Juneteenth festival in Phoenix, on June 17, 2006. ASSOCIATED PRESS Patricia Anthony looks at her booth, where she sells colorful African clothing, handbags and jewelry during a 2004 Juneteenth celebration in Washington Park in Newark, New Jersey. Kathryn Scott Osler via Getty Images Miss Juneteenth 2015, Sean-Maree Swinger-Otey, 17, waves at the parade crowd in Denver, Colorado. Joe Amon via Getty Images Young men from the Like Brothers dance team marching in the 2015 Juneteenth celebration parade in Denver. ASSOCIATED PRESS The late David “Fathead” Newman plays the sax at a Juneteenth Blues and Jazz Festival at the African American Museum in Texas. Craig F. Walker via Getty Images Jonas Felix leads the Buffalo Soldiers of the American West during a 2015 Juneteenth parade, in the historic Five Points neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. Mel Melcon via Getty Images Cheryl Rockwell, left, and Jeri Banks, sing, along with other members of the Hope of Glory Christian Center Choir from Los Angeles, during Juneteenth Celebration held at the park grounds of the Performing Arts Center on Hobson Way in Oxnard, California. Kathryn Scott Osler via Getty Images Gospel singers say a prayer together before performing for crowds at the 2002 Juneteenth Gospel Fest held at the Sonny Lawson Park in Denver, Colorado. ASSOCIATED PRESS A group of men wade into the ocean as they carry a small raft loaded with offerings to their ancestors out to sea during a 2005 Juneteenth celebration on Virginia Key, Miami’s former “black only” beach. Don Bartletti via Getty Images A young boy participates in a sack race during the 1996 Juneteenth celebration in Santa Ana, California. Boston Globe via Getty Images Jonathan Talley of Roxbury grills chicken, ribs, and sausage at Franklin Park for a 2014 Juneteenth celebration in Boston. Joe Amon via Getty Images The Collegiate Preparatory Academy Warriors strut in the 2015 Juneteenth celebration parade in Denver, Colorado. Mel Melcon via Getty Images Sharon Lyons gives grandson Jay Stevenson, 5, a kiss on the nose during a 2001 Juneteenth celebration held at the park grounds of the Performing Arts Center on Hobson Way in Oxnard, California. POST YOUR OPINION BELOW: HUFFINGTONPOST.COM http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/juneteenth-photos_us_57640f77e4b0853f8bf08d36?utm_hp_ref=black-voices POST YOUR OPINION BELOW: HUFFINGTONPOST.COM http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/juneteenth-photos_us_57640f77e4b0853f8bf08d36?utm_hp_ref=black-voices

The Emancipation Proclamation marked the end of the legalized institution of slavery in America, but in the small town of Galveston Island, Texas, black slaves had been carrying on their lives of bondage and subjugation, oblivious to the fact that they were actually free.

On June 19th, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger and his band of Union soldiers (who had been traveling throughout the South for two years spreading the word) arrived at Galveston Island to tell the last remaining slaves in the United States that they were finally free.

The day became known as “Juneteenth,” a kind of Independence Day for African-Americans, a day of celebration and remembrance. Juneteenth is a state holiday in Texas, and is officially celebrated in 43 states in America, usually with parades, barbecues and memorial ceremonies.

But Juneteenth isn’t recognized as a federal holiday (though attempts have been made), and for that reason few people get to publicly celebrate it or are evenaware of its existence and legacy. And that’s a shame, because Juneteenth is an opportunity for black people to truly celebrate all that they’ve overcome through the power of community.

Below are photos of Juneteenth celebrations across the country, over the years, that capture the beauty of the holiday:

    • David Paul Morris via Getty Images
Missionary Pepper shows off the ribs she grilled for the cook-off contest at the 2004 Juneteenth celebrations at Nichol Park in Richmond, California.
    • ASSOCIATED PRESS
Daryl McCullick, left, Ivan Pena, center, and Tariq Sabur perform Capoeira Angola, an African Brazilian martial art, at the annual Juneteenth festival in Phoenix, on June 17, 2006.
    • ASSOCIATED PRESS
Patricia Anthony looks at her booth, where she sells colorful African clothing, handbags and jewelry during a 2004 Juneteenth celebration in Washington Park in Newark, New Jersey.
    • Kathryn Scott Osler via Getty Images
Miss Juneteenth 2015, Sean-Maree Swinger-Otey, 17, waves at the parade crowd in Denver, Colorado.
    • Joe Amon via Getty Images
Young men from the Like Brothers dance team marching in the 2015 Juneteenth celebration parade in Denver.
    • ASSOCIATED PRESS
The late David “Fathead” Newman plays the sax at a Juneteenth Blues and Jazz Festival at the African American Museum in Texas.
    • Craig F. Walker via Getty Images
Jonas Felix leads the Buffalo Soldiers of the American West during a 2015 Juneteenth parade, in the historic Five Points neighborhood of Denver, Colorado.
    • Mel Melcon via Getty Images
Cheryl Rockwell, left, and Jeri Banks, sing, along with other members of the Hope of Glory Christian Center Choir from Los Angeles, during Juneteenth Celebration held at the park grounds of the Performing Arts Center on Hobson Way in Oxnard, California.
    • Kathryn Scott Osler via Getty Images
Gospel singers say a prayer together before performing for crowds at the 2002 Juneteenth Gospel Fest held at the Sonny Lawson Park in Denver, Colorado.
    • ASSOCIATED PRESS
A group of men wade into the ocean as they carry a small raft loaded with offerings to their ancestors out to sea during a 2005 Juneteenth celebration on Virginia Key, Miami’s former “black only” beach.
    • Don Bartletti via Getty Images
A young boy participates in a sack race during the 1996 Juneteenth celebration in Santa Ana, California.
    • Boston Globe via Getty Images
Jonathan Talley of Roxbury grills chicken, ribs, and sausage at Franklin Park for a 2014 Juneteenth celebration in Boston.
    • Joe Amon via Getty Images
The Collegiate Preparatory Academy Warriors strut in the 2015 Juneteenth celebration parade in Denver, Colorado.
    • Mel Melcon via Getty Images
Sharon Lyons gives grandson Jay Stevenson, 5, a kiss on the nose during a 2001 Juneteenth celebration held at the park grounds of the Performing Arts Center on Hobson Way in Oxnard, California.

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These Photos Show Why You Should Celebrate Juneteenth

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