Jun 20, 2022
The Emancipation Proclamation, which freed enslaved people in the United States, took effect on January 1, 1863. However, in states still under Confederate control, freedom for enslaved people would not come until later. Finally, on June 19, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas to announce that “more than 250,000 enslaved [B]lack people in the state were free by executive decree.”1 This date, which came to be known as Juneteenth, is celebrated as the true end of legal slavery in the United States. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday.
While Minnesota does not currently recognize Juneteenth as an official state holiday, communities and organizations around the state commemorate this important date in history. Events were held in St. Cloud, Rochester, Duluth, and throughout the metro area. If you missed this weekend’s events, North Commons Park, Bottineau Park, and Phelps Park in Minneapolis will feature stories along walking trails celebrating Juneteenth and Black life in the U.S. through Monday, June 20, 2022. More events can be found here and here.
As we celebrate the end of a violent system of oppression and the significant progress made since the Civil War’s end, we must also recognize the lingering impact of slavery on the law, our institutions, and our culture. We remain committed to using the law to fight discrimination, to continue learning and practicing anti-racism, and to share financial and other resources with organizations on the ground doing this important work. We hope you’ll join us.
1. The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth, Nat’l Museum of African Am. History & Culture (Jun. 19, 2019), https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/stories/historical-legacy-juneteenth.