The only known original copy of General Order No. 3, the document pronouncing all enslaved African-Americans living in Texas were free, will be on display in North Texas for Juneteenth weekend.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States and was named a federal holiday last year.
On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger stood at Galveston Bay and pronounced that all enslaved African Americans living in Texas were free.
The document he read that day was General Order No. 3, and the only known original copy of the order is part of the permanent archives of the Dallas Historical Society housed at The Hall of State in Fair Park.
During parts of Juneteenth weekend, the document will be on display and available for public viewing.
“Of all the wonderful pieces that we have, the Juneteenth document is just a personal thing that affects me because I celebrated Juneteenth my whole life,” said Shawn Williams, a board of trustees member for the Dallas Historical Society. “My whole family was really big in celebrating. To know that the only known original copy of the document is here in Dallas is always a big deal to me.”
The copy of the order is a part of the permanent archives of the Dallas Historical Society housed in the Hall of State in Fair Park.
As part of the Dallas Historical Society’s centennial anniversary celebration, the copy of the Juneteenth document will be on display in the Hall of Heroes at the Hall of State from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays-Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays from now through the end of July.
People can come out, see the document, see what it says and see what it meant to have all of the enslaved people in Texas know that they were truly free,” said Williams. “I think people get a personal experience by getting close to this document, really looking at it, reading the words, and understanding what it means.”
Formed in 1922, the Dallas Historical Society is the oldest organization in Dallas County committed to preserving the history of the region and presenting it to the public in new and exciting ways.
Meanwhile, the 2nd annual North Texas Juneteenth Celebration will take place on Saturday June 18 at Fair Park from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
There will be a three mile march, an all day festival featuring Black-owned vendors and live entertainment, health and beauty expos, and panel discussions.
The event is free and open to the public. Organizers want everyone across Dallas to consider attending.
“The significance of the day is freedom,” said Darryl E. Blair Sr. publisher editor of Elite News and event organizer. “Not just for those who were formerly enslaved but freedom for everyone to come out, be respectful and celebrate one another. That we can engage our cultures, however different and however diverse.”