PORTLAND, Maine — History of Juneteenth:
On June 19, 1865, Union army general Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, where he read federal orders proclaiming that all enslaved persons were now free. Texas was the most remote of the slave states, and although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863, enforcement had been slow and inconsistent.
On Friday the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution to make June 19, otherwise known as Juneteenth, Emancipation Day, and Black Independence Day, a widely observed holiday.
Hundreds of people gathered at Portland City Hall on Friday afternoon to March through the streets as part of a rally in celebration and commemoration of Juneteenth, which marks the end of slavery in the United States.
The crowd in Portland marched from City Hall to the Abyssinian Meeting House, chanting "Black Lives Matter."
On the corner of Mellen Street and Park Avenue, protesters laid chest-down on the street, many with their hands behind their backs, for a moment of silence.