What is Juneteenth?
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedman are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere” - Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston General Orders No. 3.
Today, June 19th is known as Juneteeth.
Juneteenth is the oldest national holiday to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States. It originated on June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger and thousands of troops arrived at Galveston Texas to announce the end of the Civil War and to issue an order to the state of Texas that slavery had ended.
However, the emancipation proclamation had been signed nearly two and a half years earlier on January 1, 1863. This meant General Granger's order was issued late. Further, the emancipation proclamation didn't free all slaves. It only freed slaves from former confederate states. It wasn't until the ramification of the 13th amendment on December 6th, 1865 that slaves in bordering states were also freed.
Celebrations have included a picnic, rodeos, singing, playing games, reading the emancipation proclamation, and historical reenactments among other activities.
Today is also a day for us to continue to educate ourselves and share our knowledge with others.