One hundred fifty years ago today, the beginning of the end of slavery in Texas commenced. Two months after the surrender of the Confederacy at Appomattox Courthouse, more than two years since President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the Union Army arrived on Galveston Island to enforce abolition.

Major General Gordon Granger headed a force of 1,800 men that would later be reinforced with as many as 50,000 troops. Granger’s announcement of emancipation for slaves in Texas on June 19 is the event remembered, but it would take years of struggle for freedom to be established. Juneteenth, sometimes called Black Independence Day, has become a way for African Americans “to celebrate their gains, sustain their hopes, assess their defeats, and plan paths forward.”

Related Links

  • The Hidden History of Juneteenth
    This article gives the full background to the struggle against slavery that is commemorated by the Juneteenth celebration; includes a copy of General Order No. 3 and photographs.
    (Source: Talking Points Memo, June 18, 2015)
  • Juneteenth
    (Source: Texas State Historical Association; accessed June 15, 2015)
  • History of Juneteenth
    (Source: Juneteenth.com; accessed June 19, 2016)
  • Spotlight on Juneteenth
    (Source: School Library Journal; accessed June 19, 2020)

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