In 1865, news of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued 2 years before, reached slaves in Texas who were still in bondage.
Texan EmancipationSince Texas had left the Confederacy in 1862, it had successfully fought off Union attempts to bring it back under American control, but with the prospect of freedom before them, the quarter-million people who were enslaved by Texas rose up and began their own civil war inside the Texas Republic.
Besieged within and without, the Texas government had no choice. If they were to retain their independence, they could not fight both the slaves and the Union, so the government announced that slavery was abolished within the borders of the Texas Republic. June 19th became a national holiday for Texans of African descent, who then joined in the war against the Union to keep Texas independent.