COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. June 19 marked Juneteenth, which commemorates the day in 1865 when Major Gen. Gordon Granger came to Galveston, Texas, to inform a reluctant community that President Abraham Lincoln, two years earlier, had freed the slaves.
The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order.
However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger's regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
Juneteenth celebrations were held across the country, including here in the Valley. Last year the event was marked in Columbus with a hip hop musical.