Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
The Emancipation Proclamation became law in January 1863but it could not be enforced in places that were still controlled by Confederate forces. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were boldly and gallantly fought for, but not all citizens in our newly formed country were able to have access to those assurances. Slavery stripped away the unalienable rights due to millions of Americans of African ancestry.
On June 19,1865, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and announced the end of the Civil War and that slaves had been freed. General Granger read General Order Number 3 which, in part, 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 rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”
Celebrations started after the reading of the proclamation, which began the one hundred and fifty-six- year tradition now known as JUNETEENTH.
This Juneteenth, we stand with our African American community, in solidarity, working towards absolute equality for everyone in the quest for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.