In what is now known as Juneteenth, June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrive in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War is over and slavery in the United States has been abolished .
A mix of June 19 and 19, Juneteenth became a day to commemorate the end of slavery in America. Despite the fact that President Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation was issued more than two years earlier on January 1, 1863, the lack of Union troops in the rebel state of Texas made order difficult to make respect.
Some historians attribute the lapse of time to poor communication at that time, while others believe that the owners of Texan slaves deliberately withheld the information.
READ MORE: What is Juneteenth?
Upon arriving and leading Union soldiers, Major-General Gordon Granger announced General Order No. 3: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the executive of the United States. United, all slaves are free. absolute equality of personal rights and property rights between the old masters and the slaves, and the bond which hitherto existed between them becomes that between the employer and wage labor. Freed men are advised to stay quietly at home and work for a salary. They are informed that they will not be allowed to assemble at military posts and that they will not be idly supported there or elsewhere. “
On that day, 250,000 enslaved people were released, and despite the message of staying and working for their owners, many former slaves immediately left the state and headed north or to neighboring states. looking for family members from whom they had been torn apart. .
For many African-Americans, June 19 is considered a day of independence. Forty-seven states recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday, but efforts to make it a national holiday have so far been blocked in Congress.
READ MORE: What Abraham Lincoln Thought About Slavery