“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.”—Read by Major General Granger to the people of Texas, June 19, 1865.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. On this day in 1865, the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with the news that the war was over and the slaves were now free.
I wish this date fell during the school year, because it would be so meaningful for students. Still, we can learn and celebrate today, take the lessons with us back to school.
I highly recommend visiting Juneteenth.com, the comprehensive source for all things Juneteenth. You can learn more about Juneteenth at the Smithsonian, in this article that complements a special exhibit.