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While Juneteenth (June 19) is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of emancipation, freedom was proclaimed in Florida on May 20, 1865, nearly two-years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the proclamation. One month later, on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers finally arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and the enslaved were free.

The City of Gainesville’s month-long "Journey to Juneteenth" celebration, from Florida Emancipation Day (May 20) through the widely recognized Juneteenth holiday (June 19), honors the long and turbulent journey to freedom while staying true to our history of Florida Emancipation on May 20. 

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