Juneteenth (June 19) commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War was over and that enslaved people were free. While the day has been celebrated ever since, it was only recognized as a federal holiday in 2021.
A Conversation with Annette Gordon-Reed moderated by Edward Ayers about her book On Juneteenth
Spotlights on Primary Sources
Gilder Lehrman curators explain and explore documents from the Gilder Lehrman Collection.
- The Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863
- “Men of Color, To Arms! To Arms,” 1863
- The Union Army and Juneteenth, 1865
- Ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment, 1866
- The Fifteenth Amendment, 1870
- Nominating an African American for vice president, 1880
- Frederick Douglass on Jim Crow, 1887
- Frederick Douglass on the disfranchisement of Black voters, 1888
Historical Documents in the Gilder Lehrman Collection
Honoring Juneteenth with Documents from the Gilder Lehrman Collection featuring
- The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863
- A lithograph printed in 1864 by Lucius Stebbins showing a soldier “Reading the Emancipation Proclamation”
- A letter from Frederick Douglass to John Sherman in 1888 on the “emancipation fraud”
- Booker T. Washington’s speech on the end of slavery given to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s 100th birthday, 1909
- “Juneteenth and Emancipation”: Students analyze primary source documents that convey the realities of slavery in the United States, represent various viewpoints on emancipation, and provide context for the federal holiday of Juneteenth.