Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official Jan. 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. Attempts to explain this two-and-a-half-year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years.
Today, many states recognize Juneteenth and activists are campaigning for the United States Congress to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday. In celebration of Juneteenth, Chesterfield County collaborates with various partners to commemorate and recognize this important day. View what Juneteenth means to some Chesterfield County residents.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Juneteenth 2023 events! Juneteenth 2024 event information will be released in spring 2024. For questions about Chesterfield Juneteenth events, contact the Juneteenth committee.