Juneteenth is the oldest known US celebration of the end of slavery. African Americans and others mark the anniversary much like the Fourth of July, with parties, picnics and gatherings with family and friends.
Juneteenth was signed into law as a national holiday by President Joe Biden on June 17, 2021.
Here’s a look at Juneteenth, also called Emancipation Day, Freedom Day and Jubilee Day, by the numbers:
46,273,733 - Black or African American people (one race alone or in combination) in the United States in 2020, according to the most recent Census Bureau estimate.
3,953,760 - Estimated number of enslaved people in the United States in 1860.
500,000 - Estimated number of free African American people in the United States in 1860. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, about half were in the North and half were in the South.
Almost 200,000 - African American men served in the Navy and Army on behalf of the Union during the Civil War.
901 - Days from the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, and General Orders, No. 3, notifying enslaved people of their emancipation on June 19, 1865.
159 - Years since January 1, 1863, the date President Abraham Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation, freeing those enslaved.
157 - Years since Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger (Union Army) first read the proclamation, General Orders, No. 3, in Galveston, Texas, notifying enslaved people of their emancipation, on June 19, 1865.
150 - Age of the oldest Juneteenth celebration in the world, first held in 1872 in Emancipation Park in Houston.
“Every year we must remind successive generations that this event triggered a series of events that one by one defines the challenges and responsibilities of successive generations. That’s why we need this holiday.” – Al Edwards (D-Texas), sponsor of the bill.
47 - States with laws or resolutions commemorating Juneteenth. The District of Columbia also commemorates Juneteenth.
42 - Years since January 1, 1980, when Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas. It had been celebrated informally there since 1865.
30.2 - Percentage of the population of Texas comprising enslaved people, or “bondsmen,” in 1860.
15 - States where it was legal to enslave people before the Civil War: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
13th - Amendment to the US Constitution that abolished slavery.
8 - Consecutive years during which Barack Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, issued a statement to mark Juneteenth: 2009-2016.