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Monday, 19 June 2017 13:10

Juneteenth and the End of American Slavery

Written by  Steve Byas

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger led Union troops to Galveston, Texas, and announced the Civil War was over, and the slaves were now free. He read General Order Number Three: “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 absolutely 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.”

This understandably led to jubilation among many of those who had been held in slavery. Some, especially older slaves, simply remained as employees on the farms and plantations of former masters, while others, mostly younger people, took off to seek employment elsewhere. For many in the South in the aftermath of the War Between the States, whether former slave or other southerners, black or white, the harsh reality was that almost all faced a grim economic future.

But at least they were free, and that was certainly something to celebrate.

Juneteenth, however, as a day to mark the “end” of slavery in the United States, has always been a puzzle. General Granger based his general order on a proclamation from President Abraham Lincoln who had been dead since the middle of April.

Read more at TheNewAmerican

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