TuneCore joins all Americans in honoring June 19th, also known as Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in America.
The issue of systemic racism continues to demand attention, and TuneCore is committed to learning, responding and evolving in real time to ensure we are enacting meaningful changes within our company, not only for our employees but also our artists and in the broader communities around us.
As Believe and TuneCore continue to grow, one of our companies’ main objectives and goals has been the development of programs and initiatives that embrace diversity, equity and inclusion on a global level as we seek to contribute to an all-inclusive and responsible music industry.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 17, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. signed into law the bill that established Juneteenth National Independence Day, June 19, as a legal public holiday. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the date Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and delivered General Order No. 3 announcing the end of legalized slavery in Texas. Juneteenth is also a “symbolic date” representing the African American struggle for freedom and equality, and a celebration of family and community.
Although two years and six months had passed since President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, many African Americans remained enslaved in Confederate states and also in the border slave states that remained loyal to the Union. The surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, Virginia on April 9, 1865 had not impacted Texas. Many plantation owners refused to acknowledge that the war was over and refused to “release” their enslaved workers from bondage. This practice continued even after the issuance of General Order No. 3.
General Order No. 3, delivered by Major General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865 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.
Many enslaved Blacks in Texas had already escaped prior to Granger’s announcement. A brigade of the 25th Army Corps, composed of more than 1,000 African-descendant soldiers, arrived in Galveston and captured Galveston on June 5, 1865, a week before Granger’s arrival. They chased the rebel government and soldiers into Mexico. The Black soldiers of the 25th Army Corps also spread the word about freedom, and Civil War historians estimate that thousands of enslaved people escaped to freedom because of the actions of the 25th Army Corps.
Historians have observed that Juneteenth remains significant because it is one of the earliest continuously observed holidays that African Americans established in the United States; it signifies for the African American population that America is the land of the free and that the fight for equality is ever present and ongoing.