Juneteenth, Emancipation in Texas

June 19, 1865

Minnesota musician and actor T. Mychael Rambo discusses the importance of Juneteenth.

June 19, 1865 — Emancipation in Texas

Following the Civil War, the War Department placed Gordon Granger in command of the Department of Texas on June 10, 1865.

Upon arriving at Galveston on June 19, Granger issued General Orders, No. 3 (Department of Texas) that declared:

“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 quietly 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.”

Granger’s declaration set off celebrations among former slaves and served as the inspiration of modern-day Juneteenth celebrations across America.