In honor of the upcoming Juneteenth holiday, General Order No. 3 will be posted in City of East Lansing buildings, and local businesses and organizations in the community are encouraged to post the order as well. A PDF of General Order No. 3 can be downloaded and printed here.
On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s historic Emancipation Proclamation, U.S. Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3, which informed the people of Texas that all enslaved people were now free. Granger’s troops arrived in Galveston, Texas the prior day and, on June 19, 1865, they announced that more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in the state were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as “Juneteenth” by the newly freed people in Texas. Juneteenth is also called Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, and it is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. While the order was critical to expanding freedom to enslaved people, the racist language used in the last sentences foreshadowed that the fight for equal rights was not over. The official handwritten record of General Order No. 3 is preserved at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.
This description of General Order No. 3 and Juneteenth is adapted from the National Archives and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.
Community members can learn more about how the City of East Lansing is celebrating Juneteenth here: https://www.cityofeastlansing.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1703.