While the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect January 1, 1863, it took a while for all the states to abide by it.
Two and a half years to be exact.
As news broke on the mandate, slave owners headed West to avoid freeing their slaves. Being the farthest West and still a part of the South, Texas was the last to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger issued the order mandating the end of slavery in Texas, and finally in the entire United States.
“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.”
With General Granger’s order, “Juneteenth” was born, according to an article by Henry Louis Gates.
“Juneteenth” (the hybrid of “June” and “Nineteenth”) celebrates the emancipation of all slaves and the official end to slavery in America.
Every year on “Juneteenth” people aware of this important day partake in parades and honor the true end of slavery. First official in Texas, the holiday has since expanded to 41 states and Washington D.C.