I almost forgot Happy Juneteenth!!!
For those who don’t know what holiday falls on June 19, it is Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. Only 25 states in the US celebrate this day, Texas is one of them. Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. The holiday started here in Texas.
On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived on Galveston Island to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves. The Emancipation Proclamation was originally issued on September 22, 1862, which became effective date on January 1, 1863, Texas really did care to comply with President Lincoln’s order. So, General Granger was ordered to take possession of the state from Confederate troops and enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.
One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of TX, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:
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. The Freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.
In 1980, Texas became the first of 25 states to officially recognize Juneteenth, but that is what it is, nothing more but just an “official day.” This is just the typical attitude this country has for it’s minorities. Because it benefited only one segment of society, people who bound and abducted from their homes and family and forced against their will to come here, this country still refuses to acknowledge African Americans by making this day a National Holiday.
We must revive and preserve Juneteenth not only as the end of a painful chapter in American history, but also as a reminder of the importance of preserving the lines of communication between the powerful and the powerless in our society.