Juneteenth Freedom Day
Juneteenth Freedom Day gets its name from combining “June” and “nineteenth,”. It is the day that Major General Granger arrived in Galveston with a message of freedom for the slaves there.
General Order No. 3
Juneteenth (June 19th) was the day Major General Granger read the General Order No. 3 in 1865. As a result, this order, and with the arrival of Federal troops, ended the Civil War. Those who were confined to a life of slavery, were finally recognized and freed. Granger declared the following;
“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 the rights of property, between former masters and slaves, and, the connection heretofore
existing between them, becomes that of between an employer and the hired labor.”
Shane Bolles Walsh, a lecturer with the University of Maryland’s African American Studies Department, told NPR; “It immediately changed the lives of 250,000 people. The enslaved black people were now free and had cause to celebrate. And as Felix Haywood, a former slave recalled, “Everybody went wild. We all felt like heroes. And just like that, we were free.”
It was more than two years earlier, when President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was read, on January 1, 1863. It declared that “all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” But, the Southern Confederacy believed they were an independent nation. Therefore, the Emancipation Proclamation did not immediately free all who were enslaved. As a result, the Rebel government did not enforce Lincoln’s proclamation at that time.
Texas became a stronghold for Confederate influence in the last years of the Civil War. The slave-owners ‘refugeed’ their slaves by moving to Texas. As a result, more than 250,000 black people were enslaved in Texas. And, as a result, prolonged slavery in this region.
Now a Federal Holiday
Then, On June 17, 2021, President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act. Which made Juneteenth a federal holiday. This is, in fact, the first holiday to be approved since President Ronald Reagan signed a 1983 bill. That bill approved Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as a federal holiday. Juneteenth is also recognized as Freedom Day or as Jubilee Day across the United States.
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