A Milestone in Human Rights for African-Americans
On June 19, 1865, two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emmancipation Proclamation, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston Island, Texas, scene of the last major vestige of slavery in North America.
With these words from General Order #3, Granger proclaimed U.S. sovereignty over the state and ordered the roughly 250,000 slaves there freed:
"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... "
African-Americans celebrated the momentous announcement, and did so on that date for many years thereafter. Juneteenth has waned and waxed in popularity, but in 1979 the day was made a Texas state holiday via House Bill 1016, and is now increasingly celebrated in other parts of the United States, most often with parades, picnics, inspirational speakers, dramatic readings, pageants, barbecues, and ball games.
- Handbook of Texas
- Classroom Activity from Read*Write*Think (Sponsored by Internation Reading Association and National Council of Teachers of English)
- County of Los Angeles Public Library (includes recommended titles for adults and children)
- NEA's African-American Booklist
- Free Juneteenth Electronic Greeting Cards