Events | Happy Juneteenth

SBE Celebrates African American Heritage & Emancipation

As SBE celebrates African American heritage, we take this moment to wish everyone (especially our Black students, staff, and faculty) a Happy Juneteenth. On this day in June 19, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas to help free more than 250,000 enslaved Black individuals, over two years after President Abraham Lincoln ended the Civil War by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, which became effective on January 1, 1863.

“On “Freedom’s Eve,” or the eve of January 1, 1863, the first Watch Night services took place. On that night, enslaved and free African Americans gathered in churches and private homes all across the country awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation had taken effect. At the stroke of midnight, prayers were answered as all enslaved people in Confederate States were declared legally free. Union soldiers, many of whom were black, marched onto plantations and across cities in the south reading small copies of the Emancipation Proclamation spreading the news of freedom in Confederate States. Only through the Thirteenth Amendment did emancipation end slavery throughout the United States.

But not everyone in Confederate territory would immediately be free. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, it could not be implemented in places still under Confederate control. As a result, in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, enslaved people would not be free until much later. Freedom finally came on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state, were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as “Juneteenth,” by the newly freed people in Texas.”

National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC)

For more information about this important day in history and why it is has become the first new federal holiday in 38 years (the last new one being Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which became a federal holiday in 1983), please visit some of the resources we have curated for you below. In particular, our local community is hosting several activities, and the NMAAHC has a variety of free online events scheduled, throughout the day.

While we as a people have a long way to go in the process of truth and reconciliation for our collective past in the United States of America, SBE also believes our country has made much progress and that our best is yet to come.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

– Ascribed to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as derived from Theodore Parker
Scroll to Top