Juneteenth, also known as "Freedom Day" or "Emancipation Day", is the oldest known African American celebration commemorating the end of slavery. Slaves were declared free on January 1, 1863, under the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln, which declared that all slaves living in states still in rebellion were "then, thenceforward, and forever free". However, African Americans in Texas were not aware of the proclamation, until June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger, the commander of U.S. Troops in Texas, arrived in Galveston and read General Order 3:
"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the Untied States slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor".
"Juneteenth" celebrations grew from the efforts of former slaves to mark the moment of their emancipation. In the years following the Civil War, African Americans often met with resistance from the rest of the community to the celebrate "Juneteenth". To insure that celebrations would continue, many African American communities purchase "emancipation grounds" and moved the celebration to private property. Emancipation Park in East Austin, was such a location. In 1930 the first Juneteenth Celebration was held at Rosewood Park. On January 1, 1980, the bill was passed making "Juneteenth" an official state holiday.