Today marks the anniversary of the June 19, 1865 reading of “General Order No. 3” by Union General Gordon Granger to the people gathered near Galveston’s Ashton Villa. The order read in part:
“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.”
Officially named a state holiday in Texas in 1980, Juneteenth is now recognized in 42 other states and the District of Columbia.
We all have good reason to celebrate the end of the blight of slavery and the huge leap forward for freedom and liberty that Juneteenth commemorates.
We also have an important lesson to learn from Juneteenth, though.
For while June 19, 1865 was the date of the reading of the General Order, the Emancipation Proclamation had actually been signed by President Lincoln on September 22, 1862 and had taken effect January 1, 1863, and it had said:
“…all persons held as slaves… are, and henceforward shall be free….and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.”
Yet it took almost 18 more months before the slaves in Galveston heard the word and celebrated in the streets.
So at least one of the lessons we can take from this is that in life, and in business, nothing is finished until it’s well communicated.
That’s why we at iMGA endeavor to always communicate in an open, transparent, straightforward and clear manner with all our employees, vendors, agents and customers. We know we’re far from perfect, but it’s a goal worth striving toward, and on this day especially we’re reminded of just how important it is.