The historic Juneteenth holiday, a commemoration of the end of slavery, is a day when Black communities honor our past, present, and future. More than a century and a half later, we continue to celebrate our collective history and power. Juneteenth — now officially recognized as a federal holiday — offers us a day to honor the people whose backs this country was built upon and to embrace the community, resilience, and joy that comes with being Black. Juneteenth is not just a celebration of emancipation from slavery, it is a celebration and testament to the enduring spirit and resilience of Black people.

Today, Juneteenth is the oldest and most popular celebration of emancipation from slavery. The significance of Juneteenth represents resilience and liberation. It’s in this same spirit the we continue to celebrate Juneteenth. It’s a day to uplift the perseverance of Black people — not just a day of remembrance, but a day for joy and celebration.

Joy is a

Black Joy is a Radical Act.

Black Joy is a Radical Act.

how we celebrate

Juneteenth History

Juneteenth marks the day that the delayed news of freedom finally reached those trapped in bondage in Galveston, Texas. On June 19, 1865, slavery was not abolished, but rather Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued the order that established Union Army control over Texas and freed 250,000 individuals from slavery.

Upon news of their freedom, those individuals previously enslaved began celebrating, coming together in prayer, singing, and dancing. Many traveled north in the hopes of reuniting with family members. This day became known as Juneteenth, or Freedom Day.


Protecting Truth

While Juneteenth was recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, states are passing laws to ban honest discussions about racism, sexism, and oppression, and to silence those who speak the truth about our nation’s past. History tells us that truth is essential for a society to grow. Every student has the right to an equitable and inclusive education that tells the truth about our nation’s past.

True recognition of Juneteenth requires reckoning with the shameful legacy of slavery, caste, and systemic racism. Juneteenth is a reminder of the power of truth-telling, and as we celebrate this holiday, we must commit to resisting all attempts to rewrite our history.

How We Celebrate

LDF Staff on Juneteenth

How we Celebrate

Juneteenth Reading List

How We Juneteenth

Veronica Chambers, New York Times


Marjorie Walker


Ralph Ellison

On Juneteenth

Annette Gordon-Reed

Black is beautiful. From the literature detailing our history and experience in illuminating prose, to the music that gives our experiences a bass line, creatives working across all media create a culture through art. LDF staff share their recommendations for the books, movies, music, podcasts, and TV shows that reflect LDF’s mission to “defend, educate, empower.”