Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United
States. It was on June 19, 1865 that Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, made it to Galveston, Texas with the news that the Civil War had ended and that slaves were now free. This news arrived two and a half years after President Lincoln signed into effect the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves held in the 11 Confederate states that had seceded from and which were at war against the Union. The Proclamation became official on January 1, 1863, and in every Confederate state, except Tennessee and Texas, the Proclamation went into immediate effect in the Union-occupied areas.
The Emancipation Proclamation had little to no impact on Texas due to the lack of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger and his regiment, they were finally able to overcome the Confederacy.