Today is Juneteenth, first celebrated in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers arrived to take control of the former Confederate state and slaves were freed. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, it had little effect on the abolition of slavery in the Confederacy. That came with war’s end.
The Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude in the United States, was ratified on December 6, 1865.
Juneteenth continues to celebrate the abolition of slavery and to honor the heritage of African-Americans. Juneteenth is now officially observed in 41 states, including Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
For more information about the abolition of slavery, see The Promise of Liberty: The History and Contemporary Relevance of the Thirteenth Amendment.