June 19th, 2013
09:00 AM ET

Juneteenth: Where to honor the end of slavery

Editor's note: This story was first published on June 19, 2012.

By Leslie Gilbert Elman, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army announced to the assembled crowd at Ashton Villa in Galveston, Texas, "In accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free."

It was June 19, 1865.

Never mind that President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation had been written and read more than two years earlier. Juneteenth, named for the June 19 declaration, started as a celebration of emancipation day in Texas and eventually spread to other states. With celebrations dating back to 1866, Juneteenth now commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

"America cannot understand its own history unless the African-American experience is embraced as a central factor in shaping who we are and what we have become as Americans," writes Lonnie G. Bunch, founding director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington.

Set to open in 2015, the museum will be the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African-American life, art and culture.

In honor of Juneteenth, the museum helped CNN.com choose six destinations that will enlighten and educate visitors about a complicated period of American history, the road to emancipation.

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Koffey

    Hello Mr. Elman my name is Koffey I am a Gospel Hip-Hop Recording Artist from Texas. I have an image on my new album cover showing where we Blacks in Texas have to wait until 2015 before we can celebrate 150 Years Later from becoming Free From Slavery in America. When you get a moment can you also check out my new song Only To Jesus Christ We Bow Down. (it's on youtube) My family has been fighting the Homeless Cycle Face to Face while Surviving the Struggle to be heard as an independent Artist that depends on God for everything. I am also Featured in BET's Sunday Best Commercial that happened by Gods Favor in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and powered by the ever present Holy Spirit. I am the Sista' with the Natural Black Puff Balls, you know we gotta be different to stand out when your from Deep Down South. Juneteenth Forever!

    June 29, 2013 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |