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The origin of Juneteenth told in a letter and a recording

Posted at 10:34 PM, Jun 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-20 17:14:50-04

Juneteenth has been marked by Black Americans for 155 years, and in recent decades a number of states and localities have joined in. But still, many of us don’t know a whole lot about it.

In the above video, you’ll see the order read out by Union soldiers who made it to the final state still holding slaves, Texas, two months and 10 days after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

You’ll also hear a little from a woman named Laura Smalley, who was a slave in Texas in her childhood.

Both the order and the audio come from an amazing trove of information archived online by the Library of Congress. If you want to learn more, it’s a great place to spend some time.

Click here to view the archive.