Juneteenth, which combines the words June and nineteenth, is a holiday celebrated by many African Americans to commemorate the end of legal slavery in the United States. It has its origins in June 19, 1865, the day the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas, learned they were free when General Gordon Granger arrived with 2,000 Union troops and issued General Order No. 3, proclaiming the end of slavery in Texas. The following year, African Americans in Galveston began holding annual emancipation celebrations to commemorate June 19th in which they gathered to pray, hear from orators, and share their history over various culinary offerings. By the 1870s, Juneteenth celebrations were being held in surrounding states and often included a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, parades, games, rodeos, and barbeques. In Virginia, the date of celebration marking the end of slavery, sometimes called Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, differed in various African American communities. As some of these historic commemorations faded in the second half of the twentieth century, Juneteenth, one of the oldest celebrations of the end of slavery, gained popularity with the increased interest in African American history and culture. In 1980, Texas became the first state to commemorate Juneteenth as an official holiday. On October 13, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation to make Juneteenth an official state holiday in Virginia.