Juneteenth National Freedom Day

June 19 is Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. The celebration began on June 19, 1865 when enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, finally learned they were free.

The Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863 was to have freed enslaved Africans, but its execution depended on the Union Army winning the Civil War. The surrender of the Confederacy took place more than two years later in April 1865. Word spread slowly throughout the South with the last of the enslaved learning they were free on June 19 that year. The holiday received its name by combining June and 19 and is sometimes referred to as Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day.

From coast to coast there will be events on Juneteenth to celebrate the anniversary of the end of enslavement in the United States. Please see this list of events taking place in major cities across the nation. If you do not see a celebration near you, check with your local township or state to find events happening near you.

Essential Utilities recognizes the importance of knowing American history, just as we value and respect the diversity of America. This Juneteenth, we encourage you to learn more about the country’s little-known history and celebrate this important landmark in America’s journey to freedom for all.