June 2024

The Ruth E. Lloyd Information Center (RELIC) for Genealogy and Local History

Start your historical journey here. RELIC's email newsletter highlights upcoming free events and happenings. Genealogy and local Virginia history are our specialties as a service provided by Prince William Public Libraries (PWPL). You can always find more about us on RELIC's webpage

RELIC service is available:

In-person at Central Library, by email at relic2@pwcgov.org, and by phone at 703-792-8380. 

Hours of Operation

Monday – Wednesday: 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.

Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Closed Sunday

Due to a staff shortage, RELIC is not always staffed during the above hours. However, the room is available, and service desk staff or substitutes can often help. Please call ahead for staffed hours if you need RELIC staff to be present.

Ask the Tree Doctor

If you wish to make an appointment with Darlene Hunter, RELIC Tree Hunter, please email relic2@pwcgov.org or call 703–792–8380.


Juneteenth and the Emancipation Proclamation

Written by Mary Kitiyakara, Senior Librarian/RELIC Manager

Juneteenth and the Emancipation Proclamation


Juneteenth is a celebration that marks the anniversary of the Union troops entering Galveston, TX, the last of the Confederate-held territories, to free the enslaved people under General Order 3 on June 19, 1865.


However, it did not mark the end of slavery in the United States; the Emancipation Proclamation had limitations, but it paved the way for the 13th Amendment to be ratified that same year.


Emancipation Proclamation


The country was entering its third year of war since it began in South Carolina at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. On September 17, 1862, the Battle of Antietam was a significant victory for the Union army and President Lincoln because it gave him the opportunity to issue a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. This document was seen as a military strategy targeting the Confederacy's economy and military strength, which depended on slave labor to maintain the plantations while everyone was at war and as soldiers to strengthen their military.


Knowing this, President Lincoln issued a final version on January 1, 1863, signing into law the final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation that states "all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State... shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom" (NARA, Record Group 11 General Records of the United States).


The Emancipation Proclamation applied only to states that seceded from the United States, with the exception of Confederate states under Union control and loyal border states of Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. However, despite its limitations, it allowed for the newly freed men to join the military: "And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service."


On May 22, 1863, the War Department issued General Order 143, establishing a Bureau of Colored Troops in the Adjutant General's Office to recruit and organize African American soldiers to fight for the Union Army. This order designated all African American regiments as United States Colored Troops (NARA, Record Group 94, Records of the Adjutant General's Office).


June 19, 1865 – Galveston, Texas


On April 9, 1865, the Civil War ended with the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, but as for the enslaved people, the Emancipation Proclamation only applied to states under Confederate Army control. It took time after the war for the troops to reach Texas under the command of Major General Granger to issue General Order 3 on June 19, 1865, which 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" (NARA, Record Group 393 Records of U.S. Army Continental Commands 1817–1947).


The 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution


On December 6, 1865, the 13th Amendment was ratified, and it states that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." Although the Amendment legally ended slavery, it allowed for slavery and involuntary servitude to be administered as a prison sentence, which led to a new form of enslavement for those unjustly imprisoned.


On the positive side, these laws allowed for freedom, education, citizenship, voting rights, and independence for freedmen and women to achieve accomplishments that would not otherwise be possible.


Juneteenth is a holiday that marks the beginning of the end of slavery and the positive milestones that came as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation.


Please click the hyperlinks below to learn more about these events and view the primary source documents in the National Archives online.


The Emancipation Proclamation (National Archives)


General Order 143 (National Archives)


General Order 3 (National Archives)


The 13th Amendment (National Archives)


Juneteenth (National Museum of African American History & Culture)



Biography in Context allows you to search for people based on name, occupation, nationality, ethnicity, birth and death dates and places, or gender, as well as keyword and full text.


Family Story Time at the Manassas Museum

Ages 0–5

Wednesday, June 5, 11:00–11:30 a.m.

Join us for this special story time at the Manassas Museum (9101 Prince William St., Manassas, VA 20110) as we celebrate Manassas' African American history and learn about local Black heroes, Jennie Dean and Mayor Michelle Davis-Younger.

“Adventure Begins at Your Library” Summer Reading

All Ages

June 10 – August 11

Starting June 10, pick up a Summer Reading Tracker bookmark at any of our 12 libraries or register online at pwcva.gov/library or through the Beanstack Tracker app. Read for 500 minutes and pick out a free book to keep while supplies last.

Past and Present with the Marine Museum

Grades K–5

Lake Ridge: Monday, June 17, 10:30 a.m.

Potomac: Thursday, June 20, 2:00 p.m.

Chinn Park: Saturday, June 22, 11:00 a.m.

Dale City (Grades 6–12): Monday, June 24, 10:30 a.m. 

Dumfries: Monday, June 24, 11:00 a.m.

Central: Thursday, June 27, 10:30 a.m.

Montclair: Friday, July 12, 2:00 p.m.

Bull Run: Monday, July 15, 2:00 p.m.

History comes alive in this fun interactive trunk show, where you’ll learn what it was like being a Marine during the Colonial, Revolutionary, and Civil Wars.

History and a Book Group: Central


Tuesday, June 18, 6:00 p.m.

History and a Book Group meets on the third Tuesdays to discuss historical fiction and nonfiction books and the historical events and time periods associated with the stories.

RELIC Local History Tour Group: Central


Friday, June 21, 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

The Local History Travel Group takes learning outside the library by visiting local historical sites throughout Prince William County, nearby counties, and Washington. Registration required.

June 2024 - pwcva.gov/library

Download our Explore magazine, or grab one at your nearest library, to learn more about our upcoming programs.

Questions and comments are always welcome.
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