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When Were Blacks Truly Freed From Slavery? For Juneteenth, The Root investigates the blurred line of emancipation in America.

SLAVES, EX-SLAVES, and CHILDREN OF SLAVES IN THE AMERICAN SOUTH, 1860 -1900 (30) by Okinawa Soba, via Flickr

Juneteenth, Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day, commemorating June 19, 1865 when the abolition of slavery was announced and enforced in the state of Texas, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. Isaac and Rosa, emancipated slave children, from the Free Schools of Louisiana; cabinet card photograph by M.H. Kimball, 1863. NYHS Image #78327d.

Liberated slaves were treated as contraband or captured property at this time. The confiscation act of 1861 allowed seizing Confederate property but did not clarify the fate of captured slaves. One Union general gained notoriety for general order No. 11 which freed all slaves in areas under his control. President Lincoln countermanded this order amid concerns of the political consequences in four slave holding border states that remained in the Union.

Betty Freeman: "Eighty years before the Emancipation Proclamation freed American slaves, a Massachusetts woman helped free the slaves of that state …just by going to court"

Juneteenth also called Freedom or Emancipation Day, celebrates the day that the abolition of slavery was announced in Texas on June 19th 1865.