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June 15, 2021

Juneteenth commemorates the anniversary of the announcement of General Order No. 3 that proclaimed freedom from slavery in Texas. The announcement was made by Gordon Granger, a Union Army general, on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas. Juneteenth is also called Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day.

The Emancipation Proclamation was issued on September 22, 1862, and the end of the Civil War is marked with the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. Under federal law enslaved African Americans were free on January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War did not immediately establish freedom for slaves. In Texas slaves continued in bondage until General Granger arrived at Galveston with General Order No. 3. Two thousand federal troops were also present to insure a peaceful transition.

The text of the General Order No. 3 follows: “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 freedmen 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.”

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