On this day in 1865 – two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation – Union Army general Gordon Granger ordered the freeing of slaves in Texas, the last state in which slavery was permitted by a state government.
The occurrence became known as Juneteenth, the oldest-known commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S., which has been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the country since 1866. On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday.
It is the 11th American federal holiday and first to obtain legal observance since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was designated by President Ronald Reagan on Nov. 3, 1983. Juneteenth has also been referred to as Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, Liberation Day and Emancipation Day, and it is also often observed as a celebration of African American culture.
To commemorate this day, sports leagues and organizations, as well as former and current professional athletes, took to social media with powerful messages about the day’s significance. Here is a sampling.
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