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Celebrating Juneteenth at the Alamo Research Center

June 19, 2014

Since the 1860s, June 19 has been recognized in Texas as Juneteenth. The day has been a state holiday since 1980.

Parade in Alamo Plaza, ca. 1900, possibly of Juneteenth celebration. General Image Collection, DRT Library Collection

Parade in Alamo Plaza, ca. 1900, possibly of Juneteenth celebration. General Image Collection, DRT Library Collection

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 that Union forces under Union Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston to enforce Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. Major General Granger announced General Orders No. 3 which stated that, “”The people 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, become that between employer and hired labor.” Under the orders,  most freedmen were required to continue working for the masters for whom they already labored. The announcement also took several months to spread throughout Texas, and the Union Army in Texas was small enough that it was sometimes difficult to enforce. Nevertheless, over the years, Juneteenth has come to represent the voice of African Americans celebrating their autonomy and cultural heritage.

Come to the Alamo Research Center to explore the history of slavery and freedmen in Texas:

1830s Emancipation documents and Slave sale documents in DRT 9

Juneteenth Vertical Files

Labor Contracts between B.F. Sledge and freedmen

Hanna Family Papers, Col 898, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library Collection at the Alamo Research Center, San Antonio, Texas

1871 Labor Contract between freedmen and their one-time owner, James Scott Hanna. Terms didn't change much from slavery except for the provision of wages. Hanna Family Papers, Col 898, DRT Library Collection

1871 Labor Contract between freedmen and their one-time owner, James Scott Hanna. Terms didn’t change much from slavery except for the provision of wages. Hanna Family Papers, Col 898, DRT Library Collection

Click here for a full citation of the documents and images included in this entry.

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