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Bank of the Sierra Celebrates Juneteenth

June 18, 2021

Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of slavery in America. It is also a reminder that freedom requires effort and hard work, and more than just words, as slavery did not instantly end with new laws or on the moment the U.S. Civil War was over.

On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and enacted General Order No. 3. The decree informed citizens of the state that its slaves were now free, in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Although Lincoln’s executive order had been made almost two years and nine months prior to Granger’s order, and the Civil War had come to an end the previous month, Union troops still had to travel to and occupy each of the former Confederate states to ensure that African Americans would be freed. Enforcement in these states was uneven and difficult as there was limited Union Army presence in outlying areas of the country. Texas was among many of the former Confederate states to continue to openly practice slavery in defiance of the law. As the Westernmost slave state, Texas was one of the last to be occupied by Union soldiers.

The end of slavery in the United States is now commemorated as Juneteenth on June 19, the day of Granger’s order in Texas. Nearly all states currently recognize Juneteenth as a holiday. California became the tenth state to do so after passing legislation to make Juneteenth a state holiday in 2002. Just this week, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday. By the time you read this, Juneteenth may be America’s newest national holiday.

Bank of the Sierra invites you join us in celebrating Juneteenth and recognizing the struggles and efforts required to end slavery and ensure that everyone in America can remain free.

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