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The long history of Juneteenth, and why the fight is not over yet

On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas—more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed—and informed enslaved Black people that they were free.

This day, known as Juneteenth, has been celebrated annually as a day of freedom ever since.

But Juneteenth is not recognized as a national holiday in the United States. It’s an official state holiday in only three states. And while Juneteenth symbolically marks the end of slavery, it did not mark the end of persecution, racism, racist legislation, white supremacy, and violence against Black people.

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