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Emancipation and the Meaning of Juneteenth

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Ex-slaves celebrate Emancipation Day, 1900.

Courtesy of Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.

Almost immediately upon obtaining their freedom African Americans all over the United States began to celebrate 1 January as Emancipation Day. However, different regions celebrated at different times of the year; in Texas, the date of Granger's proclamation became the day of celebration, though it was not until the 1920s that the day became known as “Juneteenth.” Shown above are ex-slaves at the Austin, Texas, Emancipation Day picnic, 19 June 1900. E. H. Carrington, the owner of a grocery store, and purportedly the first African American in Austin to sign a deed for his own property is pictured on the far right.

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