Today's Kindness #342: June 19, 2023
The freedom of African Americans from slavery in the U.S. in 1865 is celebrated on the holiday Juneteenth on June 19. Juneteenth is made up of the words 'June' and 'nineteenth,' and it is on this day that Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Texas more than 155 years ago to inform slaves that slavery had been abolished.
More than 155 years old, Juneteenth celebrates the liberation of African Americans from slavery in the U.S. It was celebrated on June 19 because, on this day in 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army landed in Texas, he brought the news that the Civil War had ended and all slaves were free.
The proclamation declaring the abolishment of slavery was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, in the nation's third year of an ongoing civil war. Known as the Emancipation Proclamation, it declared that 'all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State […] shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.' Granger's arrival in Texas was to enforce this decree, which had originally gone into effect two years earlier.
The news shocked more than 250,000 slaves in Texas who were unaware of it.
On June 19, in the city of Galveston, Granger publicly read General Order 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.'