Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
June 19 –Juneteenth – is a day all Americans should celebrate.
It was on this day in 1865 that slavery was finally ended in the United States. And it occurred when Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 soon after his arrival in Galveston, Texas.
The Order read:
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 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.
Juneteenth has been celebrated in Texas ever since and has become an official holiday in most states.
But it’s important to remember that this event was both a beginning and an end. Slavery was over. But the long, and often terrible struggle for civil rights was just getting started.
We all should celebrate the end of chattel slavery and the unspeakable violence it did to human freedom. But we should also remember that the fight for genuine and lasting equality before the law for all people remains unfinished.
Image Credit: Michael Dorausch [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]