Independence Day in the United States is officially celebrated on 4 July, but for many Americans the 1776 Declaration of Independence did not signal freedom. Instead, Pres. Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation recognized and proclaimed freedom for enslaved people, even though the news did not reach all of them for several years. Juneteenth celebrations commemorate Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger’s 1865 ride through the South carrying the news of emancipation and his announcement on 19 June in Galveston, Texas, that slavery had been abolished. That date was eventually shortened to Juneteenth.
For more information, visit this online entry of the Mississippi Encyclopedia.