Today, June 19th, marks the Juneteenth holiday, which celebrates the day in 1865 that slaves in Galveston, Texas were told that slavery had ended. President Abraham Lincoln had actually ended slavery two and a half years prior to the Texas slaves being notified. Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger delivered the good news to those in captivity through General Orders No. 3 which 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 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.
By command of Maj.-Gen. GRANGER.
F.W. EMERY, Major, and A.A.G.