In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared a formal end to slavery in the United States. Change was not instant after the proclamation. It was nearly two and a half years later, on June 19, 1865, the enslaved African Americans of Galveston, Texas, got the news by way of the Union army troops that freedom had come at last. The next year, the people of Galveston, Texas, commemorated that day as Juneteenth, a celebration of freedom. Since then, it has been observed in communities and states as a holiday. It was officially recognized as a federal holiday in 2021.