The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth

As described by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

Juneteenth marks our country’s second Independence Day. Although it has been long celebrated in the African American community, this monumental event remains largely unknown to most Americans. This must change. And it starts by educating ourselves on the historical legacy of the day. 

On January 1, 1863, a day known as “Freedom’s Eve,” enslaved and free African Americans gathered in churches and private homes 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 the Confederate States were declared legally free. Union soldiers, many of whom were black, marched onto plantations and across cities in the south spreading the news of freedom. 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. Enslaved people, in the westernmost Confederate State of Texas 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. 

Today and moving forward, D.C. United will honor and recognize Juneteenth as an official company holiday. To allow and encourage the space and time to properly reflect, honor, and celebrate the holiday, the club will not train today and the front office will be closed for business.