Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 18, 1865, Union soldiers, led by General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston Island, Texas with 2,000 federal troops. The following day, June 19, General Granger read aloud news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Texas General Order No. 3 stated,
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.
This was two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln's January 1, 1863 issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation . For more information, check out the Juneteenth article at Texas State Library and Archives Commission.