President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves effective January of 1863.
Then on June 19, 1865, the Union soldiers landed in Galveston with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free, according to the Austin History Center. After this, more than 250,000 slaves across Texas learned that they were finally free.
The celebration of June 19 was coined "Juneteenth" and grew with more participation from descendants as they treated the day as their Independence Day, according to the Texas State Library. It spread to other states and has been celebrated every year since.
In 1872, Rev. Jack Yates led a fundraising effort to purchase land for Emancipation Park in Houston.
On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official state holiday in Texas. It's a day to celebrate African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging self-development and respect for all cultures.
WATCH: Take an inside look at a local documentary based on Juneteenth