Juneteenth is the celebratory anniversary of the date (June 19, 1865) on which black slaves in Galveston, TX learned the Civil War had ended and they were free. (Note: This was 2½ years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official January 1, 1863).
Upon hearing the good news, slaves celebrated in jubilation with song, dance and food. Since that time, slave descendents throughout the U.S. have carried on the celebratory tradition. Every year, the Tracy African American Association observes and celebrates the end of slavery by hosting its own observance Juneteenth Festival.