Remembering General Order Number 3
by Community Legal Aid staff
“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.”
These words, delivered to the people of Texas by U.S. Major General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, changed the course of American history.
General Order Number 3 brought freedom and hope to enslaved people in Texas, the last state to be freed during the Civil War - a point well worth celebrating.
But the discriminatory undertones in the final two sentences served as a foreshadowing of the fight for physical and economic freedom, equality, and justice that was to come for formerly enslaved African Americans and their descendants.
It’s with this lens that we observe Juneteenth 2022 -- celebrating how far we’ve come, while reflecting on the path still left to forge ahead, and recommitting to educating ourselves and our communities on the ways our laws impact how equitable and just our society is.
This article is part of Legal Aid’s “Big Ideas” series.
This week, we lift up and honor our Black and Brown team members, past and present, by sharing again their stories, in their own words, through our Amplifying Black Voices project.
We also invite you to join us as we celebrate Juneteenth with the communities we serve:
Akron - Sunday, June 19th from 1:00 - 7:00 - Stoner Hawkins Park, Akron
Canton - Saturday, June 18th from 10:00 - 6:00 and Sunday, June 19th from 12:00 - 6:00, Nimisilla Park, 12th and O’Jays Pkwy, Canton
Youngstown - Sunday, June 19th from 12:00 - 6:00, Eugenia Atkinson Center, 903 Otis St., Youngstown
This Juneteenth, we encourage you to re-engage in issues that impact or contribute to racial disparities in our communities. Here, we are sharing past Big Ideas that highlight some of these issues.
Celebrate Juneteenth by recognizing structural racism
Let's give kids their dads back
Fair school funding combats structural racism
Detention now means prison later
Race shouldn't dictate your health
Credit costs more for the poor
Racism IS a public health crisis, but it's not new
Point/Counterpoint: Major potential impacts of HB 508
We still have debtors' prisons in 2022
Have you seen our interactive timeline of racial justice history? Learn more about the laws that have created -- and fought to dismantle -- systems of oppression in our country.
Join us for a free, in-person training, The School-to-Prison Pipeline and Other Ways Our Laws Perpetuate Racial Injustice, Friday, June 17th from 9:00 a.m. - 12:30, First Congregational Church of Akron, 292 E. Market St., Akron.
Also, check out the following resources for further information about Juneteenth:
National Archives electronic record of General Order Number 3
History Channel’s entry on Juneteenth
Presidential Order proclaiming Juneteenth a national day of observance