Serving Barnwell County and it's neighbors since 1852

Juneteenth: A brief background on the historic day


Celebrating progress and the continued work toward equality is honored on Juneteenth.

The National Museum of African American History & Culture refers to the historic day of Juneteenth as “our country’s second independence day.” 

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865 when Union troops informed more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in Texas they were declared free by executive decree. 

This momentous day came nearly two years after President Abraham Lincoln emancipated enslaved people across the nation. 

The holiday celebrates the resilience and achievements of African-Americans during the post-Civil War reconstruction era and the ongoing fight for equality, while also preserving historical record. 

Juneteenth was established as the 12th legal federal holiday in June 2021, “opening it to symbolic and global interpretation and providing a better understanding of the evolution of our nation,” states the museum’s website. 

As a recognized federal holiday, many banks and the U.S. Post Offices are closed. 

A bill introduced in January 2023 now resides in the state Senate and proposes an amendment to Section 53-5-10 Code of Laws to make Juneteenth a legal state holiday. 

Across the state, numerous Juneteenth celebrations have been held leading up to the holiday and in days following it.