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On June 19, 1866, former slaves in Galveston, Texas, celebrated a year of emancipation with the “Juneteenth” holiday. Juneteenth celebrations quickly spread to the rest of the country, and the date continues to be the oldest known tradition honoring the end of slavery in the U.S.
 
In Texas, former slaves almost immediately organized and purchased lands as “emancipation grounds” for the annual Juneteenth gathering. Emancipation Park (formerly the Colored Emancipation Park) in Houston, Emancipation Park in Austin, and Emancipation Park in Mexia (now Booker T. Washington Park) were all created as sites for Juneteenth celebrations.
 
Today, Juneteenth celebrations include picnics, rodeos, barbeques, parades, and readings of the Emancipation Proclamation and the work of African-American authors such as Ralph Ellison, whose posthumously published second novel is titled Juneteenth.
affiliate
Verb

to associate or connect to something else.

annual
Adjective

yearly.

celebrate
Verb

to observe or mark an important event with public and private ceremonies or festivities.

emancipation
Noun

freedom.

Emancipation Proclamation
Noun

(1863) declaration by President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War that freed all people held as slaves in most rebellious states.

immediately
Adverb

at once or quickly.

novel
Noun

fictional narrative or story.

posthumous
Adjective

happening after one's death.

purchase
Verb

to buy.

slave
Noun

person who is owned by another person or group of people.

tradition
Noun

beliefs, customs, and cultural characteristics handed down from one generation to the next.