Celebrating Juneteenth in Charleston, South Carolina as a large-scale event is significant to our heritage and who we are as a people. Originating in Galveston, Texas, Juneteenth is now celebrated throughout the United States annually on the 19th of June, with varying official recognition. Juneteenth pays tribute and celebrates the journey to freedom, the contributions, ingenuity, and sacrifices that were made by those who came before us.
Charleston has an abundantly rich black history due to its Gullah Geechee roots and because nearly half of enslaved Africans (Afrikans) brought to America came through Charleston, and nearly 80 percent of African-Americans can potentially trace an ancestor who arrived in Charleston. Juneteenth is a pivotal milestone in African American history. It demonstrates the long, enduring fight for freedom.
It took nearly two and half years for those who were enslaved, in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas to finally be free from enslavement when the Union soldiers arrived, many of whom were black, to enforce the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation (Delaware and Kentucky, would not come until several months later, on December 18th, 1865 through the Thirteenth Amendment).