O Lord God of hosts, who with a mighty arm delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt: Let not our hearts be hardened like Pharaoh’s, but incline our hearts to mercy; that we might fight against slavery of body and mind, and oppression of the soul. Help us to welcome the liberated into the fulness of the family of Christ, that their children and our children may share the bread of brotherhood, and that hand in hand they may enter into thine eternal Kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Although the Civil War ended officially on May 9th, 1865, news spread slowly to those areas distant from the main battlefields. On June 19th, 1865, Union Gen. Gordon Granger made a public announcement of the total emancipation of slaves to the people of Galveston Island, Texas. The celebration of “Juneteenth” has spread from Texas to African-American communities across the country.

Union soldiers accompanying freed slaves

Union soldiers accompanying freed slaves (source unknown)

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