This year marks the third time Juneteenth is celebrated as a Federal holiday. Juneteenth (a combination of June and nineteenth), also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Liberation Day, is celebrated annually on June 19 to commemorate Union army general Gordon Granger’s reading of federal orders in the city of Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, proclaiming all enslaved persons in Texas were free.

The Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed them almost two and a half years earlier, and the American Civil War had primarily ended with the defeat of the Confederate States in April 1865. However, Texas was the most remote of the southern states, with a low presence of Union troops, so enforcement of the proclamation had been slow and inconsistent. For decades June 19 was celebrated in the African American community as a day of freedom and independence. While some states marked the day as a holiday, it was only in 2021 that it became a federal holiday.

This year, volunteers participated in the Berkeley Juneteenth Festival. The festival, the longest-running Juneteenth event in Northern California, was held on Sunday, June 18, 2023, in south Berkeley’s five-block Alcatraz-Adeline corridor. The event allowed the Lab to share with the local community more about the Lab’s values and how we are helping to build a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive future.

To learn more about Juneteenth, visit and Berkeley Lab’s African American Employee Resource Group.