COLUMBUS (WCMH) — African Americans across the country will gather today to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States.
It was on June 19, 1865 when Union troops finally arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War was over. Along with that news came the word that all remaining slaves in Texas were free, an event celebrated to this day as “Juneteenth.”
This even came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s issued his Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, an order that freed all slaves in the United States.
Texas did not follow the order until Union General Gordon Granger read the famed General Order Number 3. It stated:
“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 date is now celebrated across the south, and there are calls every year to have Juneteenth recognized as a national holiday. Texas recognizes the day as either a state holiday. Only Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota and South Dakota do not recognize the day of observance.