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Juneteenth (1865): June 19, 2023

Press Release Number CB23-SFS.93

From the National Archives: The Emancipation Proclamation

“President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared ‘that all persons held as slaves’ within the rebellious states ‘are, and henceforward shall be free.’

“Despite this expansive wording, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the United States, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy (the Southern secessionist states) that had already come under Northern control. Most important, the freedom it promised depended upon Union (United States) military victory.

“Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation, it captured the hearts and imagination of millions of Americans and fundamentally transformed the character of the war. After January 1, 1863, every advance of federal troops expanded the domain of freedom. Moreover, the Proclamation announced the acceptance of Black men into the Union Army and Navy, enabling the liberated to become liberators. By the end of the war, almost 200,000 Black soldiers and sailors had fought for the Union and freedom.”

From The American Presidency Project, Proclamation 10418—Juneteenth Day of Observance, 2022

“After the Union Army captured New Orleans in 1862, slave owners in Confederate states migrated to Texas with more than 150,000 enslaved Black persons. For 3 years, even after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved Black Americans in Texas remained in brutal bondage, immorally and illegally deprived of their freedom and basic dignity. On June 19, 1865—over 2 years after President Lincoln declared all enslaved persons free—Major General Gordon Granger and Union Army troops marched to Galveston, Texas, to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation and free the last enslaved Black Americans in Texas.”   

Key Stats

Source: Commercial lithographer Henry S. Graham printed this choropleth map showing the distribution of the slave population in September 1861. The map shows in graphic terms the density of the slave population in the Southern states, based on figures from the 1860 census. Although the development of this map was a collaborative government effort, cartographers working for Edwin Hergesheimer, U.S. Coast Survey Drafting Division, created it.

Note: Click on the image above for higher resolution.

SOURCE: Bureau of the Census. For urban-rural figures for 1790-1940, sex and race figures for 1850-1940, and nativity figures for 1900-1940, see, Sixteenth Census Reports, Population, vol. II, part 1, pp. 18 and 19; for race figures for 1790-1840, sex figures for 1820-1840, and nativity figures for 1850-1890, see Fifteenth, Census Reports, Population, vol. II, p. 97; for slave figures for 1790-1860, see Ninth Census Reports, Population, p. 7. (See page 16, B 13-23.)

Note: The first 16 decennial censuses presented above are stored at the National Archives. The first eight counted slaves, but that classification ended after the Civil War (1861-1865).

More Stats

From Census.gov  /  Topics  /  Population  /  Race:

From Census.gov > History:

“The Civil War of 1861-65 ended slavery (abolished legally through the 13th Amendment in 1865), and the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1868, ended Article I's three-fifths rule. Thus, the original census requirements were modified.”

Note: For detailed information about each census, visit Decennial Census by Decade and select any year ending in zero. There are 25 decennial censuses from 2030 back to 1790.  

From the Census.gov > History > Home Page Archives:  

From Census.gov  /  Library:   

From Census.gov  /  Newsroom:  

From Census.gov  /  Statistics in Schools (SIS)

From Census.gov  /  Partner Resources  /  Data Links  /  Black (or African American) Data Links

From Census.gov  /  Topics  /  Public Sector  /  Voting and Registration:

Outside Links

Page Last Revised - June 8, 2023
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