Emancipation Proclamation Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary n on September 22nd, 1862. It stipulated that if the Southern states did not cease their rebellion by January 1st, 1863, then Proclamation would go into effect. When the Confederacy did not yield, Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863.
Five months after the Emancipation Proclamation. It outlawed slavery and freed over 500,000 enslaved African Americans.
Many people did not realize that this monumental decision had taken place and because of this it resulted into many people being remained enslaved until the news reached them…two-and-a-half years later.
As news broke two and a half years later many Slave owners headed West to avoid freeing their slaves. Texas, being the farthest west and still apart of the South they became the last to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. There are many rumored stories that that gives presumption of why Texas did not receive the news of freeing slaves.
One of the versions told throughout the years is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another, is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. Another is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. We may not really know what the actual reason behind the Texans not having knowledge of the Emancipation Proclamation, it remained a stays quo.
The Emancipation Proclamation freed over 500,000 enslaved African Americans, many challenged the fact of letting go the enslaved African Americans and challenged the Proclamation. More over, some of the the reasons why Texans did not free slaves was partially due to intentional prevarication on the part of state governments, as well as slave-holding individuals.
General Granger road into Texas delivering one of his first order after the defeat of General Robert E Lee and the surrendering of his 28,000 troops to Union General Ulysses S Grant which ended the American Civil War.
General Order Number 3
General Granger read to the people of Texas the General Order Number 3 of which began with:
“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 free laborer.”
After Granger announces the General Order Number 3, on plantations many Slave owners did not want to announce the news — or wait for a government agent to arrive — and it was not uncommon for them to delay until after the harvest.
Nevertheless, justice prevailed, however, and the first African American community to formally celebrate their freedom was in Galveston, TX.
Galveston was the site of the first public reading of the proclamation in the south, as well as the first community to celebrate the holiday now known as “Juneteenth,” so named for the date of the reading of the historic Proclamation.
Today, every June 19 many African American celebrate Juneteenth with music, festivals, outdoor cookouts etc.