In honor of Juneteenth, the Ravens offices will be closed this Friday, June 19.
Juneteenth commemorates the effective end of slavery in the United States. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that became effective January 1, 1863, declaring that all slaves in the Confederate States were free as of that date. However, since the Confederate States were in rebellion and the United States government had no ability to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, freedom for slaves did not come until the end of the Civil War.
For all practical purposes, the Civil War ended on April 9, 1865, when General Ulysses S. Grant accepted the surrender of Confederate forces at Appomattox, Virginia. As Union forces then moved into the Confederate States, they enforced the Emancipation Proclamation and proclaimed freedom for slaves.
Texas was the last Confederate State occupied by Union forces. On June 19, 1865, Union troops under the command of General Gordon Granger landed in Galveston, Texas. General Granger announced that the Civil War had ended and that all slaves were free in accordance with President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Forty-six states including Maryland now recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday, and there is a continuing push to make Juneteenth a national holiday.
"In light of all the recent events in the past several weeks, it seems a particularly appropriate time for us to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday this year and in future years," Ravens President Dick Cass said. "Celebrating Juneteenth will give us all an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come and on how far we have to go."