Juneteenth is not an actually word, but a portmanteau – the combination of two words to make a new one. June and nineteenth combine in celebration of June 19, 1865, the date Texas abolished slavery. On the heels of the official announcement in Galveston by Union General Gordon Granger two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was supposed to go into effect, African-Americans joyously celebrated in the streets. Official celebrations began the following year in Texas and quickly spread to other states.
The 2012 Valley of the Sun Juneteenth Freedom Festival will celebrate the holiday, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, on Saturday, June 16, with guest speakers, live music and dance exhibitions, sports, arts and crafts booths, storytelling, poetry, and other entertainment. Vendors will be on hand with ethnic food, drink, and event-related information.