California joins other states Sunday in recognizing Juneteeth.The observance, also known as Emancipation Day, is this country's oldest commemoration of the end of slavery.
Through his Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery in January of 1863. But slaves in Texas didn't get the word they were free until two years later — on June 19 in 1865 — when a Union general arrived in Galveston with an order that slavery was over.
Across the nation, planners have organized family gatherings, picnics and other events to mark that historic event.
In the Southland, Leimert Park Village hosts the 2nd Annual Heritage Festival with a focus on digital education.
At the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, famed opera singer Denyce Graves performs in a Juneteenth Worldwide Concert event. The program also recognizes the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. And people are invited to enjoy live entertainment, food and free health and dental screenings during a Juneteenth celebration in Moreno Valley.
About three dozen states around the country, including California, officially observe Juneteenth.