Today in 1865, slavery officially ended in the United States. The celebrated day goes by the name “Juneteenth” which is short for June 19th. Today is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. On this day in 1865, Union General Granger, along with 1,800 federal troops, traveled to Galveston, Texas and read General Order Number 3 to the citizens of Texas that stated, “…all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”. The Emancipation Proclamation had been issued by President Abraham Lincoln 2 years earlier but Texas plantation owners had withheld the information.
On June 19, 1865, 250,000 people were freed in the state of Texas. Juneteenth became an official Texas state holiday in 1979 and is celebrated all over the country. However, Texas is the only state to recognize it as a state holiday. There are many people are calling for Juneteenth to become a nationally recognized holiday. Whether it is an officially recognized holiday or not, many communities across the United States are celebrating today with parades and educating others about this part of American history.