A Visual Journey Through Juneteenth

Juneteenth is now federally recognized as an official holiday in the US, the first new federal holiday recognized since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the 1980s.  The day has been remembered and celebrated in black communities for well over 150 years, commemorating the end of slavery, and officially turning a page on this terrible history in the United States.

Below are a collection of images showcasing a range of celebrations of the Juneteenth holiday, dating back to the 1880s, right up to today.  Via Vox, Washington Post, NPR, and The Smithsonian. 

1905 – Martha Yates Jones, left, and Pinkie Yates, daughters of the Rev. Jack Yates, in a carriage decorated for Juneteenth outside Antioch Baptist Church in Houston. (MSS0281-PH037, Schlueters Advertising and Souvenir Photographs/Rev. Jack Yates and Antioch Baptist Church Collection/African American Library at the Gregory School/Houston Public Library)


Emancipation Day Celebration band, June 19, 1900Stephenson, Mrs. Charles (Grace Murray) / Austin History Center, Austin Public Library


A group photograph of 31 people at a Juneteenth celebration in Emancipation Park in Houston’s Fourth Ward in 1880. Wikimedia Commons


1993 Attendees at a Juneteenth celebration in Atlanta. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP)


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – JUNE 19: Black Chicagoan and Indiana horse owners ride through Washington Park on June 19, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when a Union general read orders in Galveston, Texas stating all enslaved people in Texas were free according to federal law. (Photo by Natasha Moustache/Getty Images)


A set of statues at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice shows enslaved people bound by chains. Human Pictures/Equal Justice Initiative


“I hated slavery, always, and the desire for freedom only needed a favorable breeze, to fan it into a blaze, at any moment. … I longed to have a future — a future with hope in it.”— Frederick Douglass, “My Bondage and My Freedom,” 1855

Emancipation Day celebration in Richmond, Va., 1905 Library of Congress


General Order 3. This June 19, 1865, order represents the Federal Government’s final execution and fulfillment of the terms of the Emancipation Proclamation. The people to whom this order was addressed were the last group of Americans to be informed that all formerly enslaved persons were now free. The effects of this order would later be celebrated as the Juneteenth holiday. National Archives