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In Focus

“Then, thenceforward, and forever free”

These words, issued on January 1, 1863 in the Emancipation Proclamation, were finally heard by the enslaved people in Texas on June 19, 1865. Join the Harvard community in celebrating and exploring the history of Juneteenth.

The Juneteenth flag was created in 1977 by Ben Haith, founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation, and illustrator Lisa Jeanna Graf.
It’s not only a chance to look back at history…but we should also reflect on how that history connects with the moment we’re in now.”

Jeraul Mackey

Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences alum

A student wearing a purple blazer stands with his arms crossed

Juneteenth history lesson

Juneteenth: an overview
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Juneteenth marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas—two and a half years after the end of the Civil War—to emancipate people who were still living in bondage.

Primary sources

These emancipation documents are just a small part of Houghton Library’s digital collection “Slavery, Abolition, Emancipation, and Freedom.”

Explore the collection

Celebrating, learning, and reflecting

Student at Harvard Business School reflect on what Juneteenth means to them and what we can all do to honor the day, acknowledge our country’s past, and continue to advance racial equity.

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Annette Gordon-Reed

Honoring Juneteenth

Annette Gordon-Reed details how the Texas community honored the Juneteenth anniversary and what we gain from celebrating it as a nation.

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Harvard Division of Continuing Education hosted a Juneteenth discussion panel with experts on race, history, and anthropology.

A red, black, and green American flag
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Opal Lee discussed the history of Juneteenth in her life and her personal journey to establish Juneteenth as a national holiday.

Opal Lee in beautiful clothes
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Curatorial fellows at Harvard Art Museums selected works of art connected to enslavement, emancipation, and inequality in the U.S.

A water jug that says "Am I not a man and a brother"
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The Harvard Business Review explored how organizations can make Juneteenth an opportunity to expand diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Colleagues around a table with pens and paper to make thank you cards.
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Working toward a world without slavery

Slavery, forced labor, and human trafficking are global problems that the Harvard community is still working to end.