June 19th 1865, 2 1/2 years after slavery was abolished, Gen. Gordon Granger arrived on Galveston Island to announce that all slaves are free:

 

"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer."

 

Under legislation passed by State Representative Al Edwards in 1980, Texas became the first state to establish Juneteenth as a state holiday.

Getty Images

The Killeen NAACP has a 3-day festival devoted to the Holiday:

Thursday

5:30 p.m., Miss Juneteenth reception

7 p.m., Miss Juneteenth, Killeen Arts and Activity Center, 801 N. Fourth St.

Friday

6 p.m., Downtown parade starts at City Hall, 101 N. College St.

8 p.m., GospelFest, Killeen Ampitheater, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd.

Saturday

10 a.m., Worship service, Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd.

Noon, picnic after service.