“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free,” wrote Major General Gordon Granger 155 years ago in General Order Number Three. This freedom, he continued, “involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.”
Granger’s Order enforced the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862. Enslaved men and women in the Confederate States became free on January 1, 1863. These two documents, and the passage of the 13th Amendment, helped solidify the end of enslavement in the United States.
Despite the passage of a century and a half, the struggle for equality is not near complete, as events all around us so painfully reveal.
On this day, The Center honors those who have paved the way and celebrates the achievements of African American history and culture as we call for a renewed commitment to creating a world filled with equity, equality, and justice.
Juneteenth celebrations and actions are taking place across Atlanta this weekend, though some customary events have been postponed due to COVID-19. While our museum is still closed, our Center’s staff will end operations early this Friday to give our team the opportunity to take part in Juneteenth traditions and reflect on the continued fight for freedom.
Enjoy this reading of Henry’s Freedom Box, by Ellen Levine, from Education Programs Coordinator, Jasmine Waters Page, in partnership with the Atlanta History Center, with permissions from Scholastic.
About the National Center for Civil and Human Rights
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is a vibrant museum and cultural institution in Atlanta. Our immersive and powerful exhibitions connect US civil rights history to the global struggle for human rights around the world today. We are one of the only institutions in the world where the papers and artifacts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are on permanent display. Our engaging events and conversations, education, and advocacy training bring together leading thinkers on advancing rights. For more information, visit civilandhumanrights.org. Join the conversation on civil and human rights on @ctr4chr (Twitter) and @ctr4chr (Facebook)