They got the word in June 1865, and immediately left the plantations and began celebrating in the streets.
That tradition of celebrating on June 19, called a Juneteenth observance, continues today in many Southern states, and has migrated to places like Los Angeles.
Below find a sampling of the Juneteenth events happening locally.
Black Probation Officers Association marks Juneteenth tonight beginning at 6 p.m. at the Industry Culver Cafe and Jazz with a free presentation of food, jazz and speakers talking about the significance of the holiday. Free Salsa lessons and dancing begin at 10 p.m. 6039 Washington Blvd., Culver City. (323) 298-3522 or 586-6091.
Leimert Park’s traditional celebration begins today at 10 a.m. and continues until dusk Free babecue ribs, watermelon and Red Soda will be given away on a first come, first serve basis, then vendors will be available to sell other food. Entertainment includes jazz, gospel and blues performers from the local community. Sponsored by CORE California, Jonathan Leonard’s Emancipation Picnic, Eighth District Councilman Bernard Parks and Freedom’s Journal. Location: Crenshaw Boulevard and Vernon Avenue.
Jazz in the Park. South Park hosts a free jazz festival Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring legendary crooner Ernie Andrews along with the Washington Preparatory High choir and jazz band. The event features a health fair with information booths and give-aways, and there is also face painting and a puppet show for children.
South Park is located at 345 E. 51st St., Los Angeles. (213) 847-6746.
Dance. Dance. Dance. Minority AIDS Project and Unity Fellowship of Christ Church holds a free Juneteenth celebration 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The day will feature free health screenings for diabetes, high blood pressure and HIV/AIDS as well dance contests, face painting, clowns and give-aways (for one hour only) by KJLH radio. R & B and Latin music will be featured. Location: 5147 W. Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles.

Ancestral heirlooms. The Martin Luther King Jr.-Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center hosts a Juneteenth event June 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the front law of the clinic. The free celebration will feature speakers such as Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke as well as information booths, food, free HIV/AIDS testing and a presentation of ancestral heirlooms and photos–some pre-dating the Emancipation Proclamation (1863). The facility is located at 12021 S. Wilmington Ave., Los Angeles.