Philip Mickens was about nine years old when the Civil War ended and slavery was abolished. Another six months passed before he and the other enslaved persons on the plantation of Thomas McIntyre at Thomasville, Georgia, knew they were free. He came to Massillon in 1871, and many generations of Mickens helped to mold this community.
President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, freeing 3.5 million enslaved people in the states. But it was not until the 13th Amendment was passed by Congress in January 1865 and ratified in December 1865 that all enslaved people in the United States were freed. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, one of the last Confederate strongholds, and read the federal order that all people held in slavery were free. This was the first time many enslaved people had heard of their freedom. The date is memorialized by an annual holiday, now a federal holiday as of 2021.