People on Twitter are celebrating and reflecting on Juneteenth, a day of remembrance that marks the official end of chattel slavery in America.
On June 19, 1865, Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to issue an official order to end slavery.
The order came two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, which technically declared that all black enslaved people were free. But in reality, the horrific system of one of the darkest chapters in American history continued in deep parts of the former Confederacy, including Galveston.
The day black enslaved people in Galveston were informed of their freedom has been commemorated as a celebratory day in history, recognizing the end of chattel slavery in the U.S. and the resilience of black people who continue to fight for equality and justice.
While Juneteenth is not a national holiday, a number of states across the U.S. officially recognize the day, with Texas becoming the first to do so in 1980. The holiday is typically celebrated with parades, barbecues and various gatherings.
Former President Barack Obama tweeted about the significant day on Wednesday.
“On Juneteenth, we celebrate our capacity to make real the promise of our founding, that thing inside each of us that says America is not yet finished, that compels all of us to fight for justice and equality until this country we love more closely aligns with our highest ideals,” he wrote.
Other Twitter users, elected officials and celebrities similarly recognized the day and the future work needed to address America’s lingering systems of racism. Author Ta-Nehisi Coates and actor Danny Glover notably testified in a House hearing on reparations for slavery on Wednesday.