|Posted on May 25, 2018 at 6:15 PM|
The nineteenth of June, affectionately referred to as Juneteenth, is celebrated throughout Texas and the country. Although recognition is now held on the national level, its misunderstood history is often hidden or distorted in the public media.
Smithsonian Magazine once called Juneteenth the most “significant event in American history after the independence itself”. The article goes on to state, “For centuries, slavery was the dark stain on America’s soul, the deep contradiction to the nation’s founding ideals of “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and “All men are created equal.” When Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, he took a huge step toward erasing that stain. But the full force of his proclamation would not be realized until June 19, 1865—Juneteenth, as it was called by slaves in Texas freed that day.”
Because news of slaves’ freedom traveled slowly, or not at all, the Union army traveled throughout the South to spread the word. On June 19, 1865, with the arrival of General Gordon Granger and more than 2,000 Union troops, the people of Texas were informed that all slaves were free.
What was read by General Granger was not the Emancipation Proclamation, but General Order No. 3. The order begins: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”
With the assistance of General Granger and the 2,000 Union troops, General Order No. 3 was read in every county in the state of Texas. In addition to the reading, it was nailed to the courthouse doors. Many of the documents were torn down and destroyed after the reading making any remaining copy of General Order No. 3 a rare find.
The Dallas Historical Society is providing a viewing of the only known remaining copy of General Order No. 3 at the Hall of State - Fair Park on June 16-25. This document was given to the Limestone County town of Mexia, Texas.
Bookings and more information about Hidden History DFW Tours is available at www.hiddenhistorydfw.com.
For more information on the article JUNETEENTH: OUR OTHER INDEPENDENCE DAY go to https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/juneteenth-our-other-independence-day-16340952/.
The Hall of State-Fair Park is located inside the Fair Park. Its address is 3939 E Grand Ave, Dallas, TX 75210.
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