Sunday, June 21, 2015

Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, History and Introduction

The very first Juneteenth celebration took place on on June 19, 1865, after Union Army General Gordon Granger read General Order No. 3 to the population of Galveston essentially declaring an end to the master and slave relationship. The name Juneteenth is a combination of the words June + nineteenth. It is the largest celebration of of its type in the United States with 43 states (and the District of Columbia) passing either laws or resolutions recognizing the importance of Juneteenth history.

Proclamation of the first Juneteenth in Iowa was officially passed into law on April 11, 2002 by Governor Tom Vilsak. Iowa law officially recognizes the third Saturday in June as Juneteenth day in Iowa.


On temporary display at the State Historical Musuem of Iowa in Des Moines is the Juneteenth exhibit.

Previous articles in the series:
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Introduction