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Nashvillians celebrated Juneteenth on Wednesday at Fort Negley, a Civil War encampment built by free Blacks and Black Americans conscripted by the U.S. Army.

The holiday commemorates the day — June 19, 1865 — U.S. Major General Gordon Granger, for whom a Civil War fort in Williamson County is named, arrived in Galveston, Texas, and informed the enslaved residents that they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

The Proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln, applied to enslaved people in the Confederate states but news traveled slowly during the Civil War. Black Americans have long celebrated the day but only in recent years has it been more formally recognized: it became a federal holiday in 2021 and a Tennessee state holiday in 2023.

Photojournalist John Partipilo covered the event.