Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Facts About Juneteenth—The Freedom Of All People Is Connected

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is the celebration to mark the end of slavery in the United States.

On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger, landing at Galveston, Texas, made the announcement that the Civil War was over and that slaves were free.

(Above–Ashton Villa. It was from the balcony of this house that the Emancipation Proclamation was read in the event now known as Juneteenth. Photo by Nick Saum  www.nicksaumphotography.com)

Juneteenth for 2011 will be observed on Sunday, June 19.

It is important that we all be aware of Juneteenth. The freedom of all people is connected. If any group of Americans does not have all their rights, than we are all denied our rights.

Here is information on Juneteenth from the very useful Handbook of Texas Online.

From the Handbook—

“On June 19 (“Juneteenth”), 1865, Union general Gordon Granger read the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, thus belatedly bringing about the freeing of 250,000 slaves in Texas. The tidings of freedom reached slaves gradually as individual plantation owners read the proclamation to their bondsmen over the months following the end of the war. The news elicited an array of personal celebrations, some of which have been described in The Slave Narratives of Texas (1974). The first broader celebrations of Juneteenth were used as political rallies and to teach freed African-Americans about their voting rights. Within a short time, however, Juneteenth was marked by festivities throughout the state, some of which were organized by official Juneteenth committees.”

Though the Emancipation Proclamation took effect in 1863, it took time for word to get around that slavery was over. People went around for two years not knowing they were free.

After Juneteenth came the failure of Reconstruction and over 100 years of Jim Crow. Many people had their lives wasted in these years due to the racist beliefs of political leaders and of many everyday citizens.

Here is a history of Reconstruction.

Here is a history of Jim Crow.

Here is a collection of links that form a history of slavery in the United States.

These folks think Juneteenth should be a holiday.

Here is a list on Juneteenth events in Houston for 2011.

( I’ve also written the best Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List on the web. Please click here to see the list.)

Below is a picture of a man who was a slave and who was whipped many times.

File:Cicatrices de flagellation sur un esclave.jpg

The man in the picture above had no choice about his fate in life.

Even today we remain not in full control of our fates. Circumstance and chance play a role in life.

Sometimes our freedom is restricted by our self-imposed limits of imagination. Other times our freedom is challenged by the greed of the wealthy and powerful.

In any case, we must always press ahead towards freedom and emancipation. There is always progress to be made and great victories to be won.

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June 4, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. It is important to remember that the Emancipation Proclaimation was an executive order, not a law. As such it applied only to areas as they came under occupation of the Union army. This is entirely in accord with the constitution. The president does not have the authority to override state law by fiat, but the president does have the authority to change laws buy fiat in rebellious territories as commander in chief. Thus the slaves in the border states were not freed by the Emancipation Proclaimation. Some of the border states that had not joined the CSA did pass their own emancipation laws, others didn’t. Slaves were not freed in Kentucky and Delaware until passage of the 13th amendment.

    I have always liked Juneteenth. I always watched the Juneteenth tapes from Miller Theater they used to run on Channel 8 back in the 70’s. I’m glad it is becomming a celebration outside of Texas. Cool holiday overall.

    BTW, way back in the late 50s and early 60s my mother worked in the Brazoria County courthouse. She told me there were documents there from when freed slaves were registered to vote. Registered voters had to sign (or mark with a witness) documents swearing that they held allegiance to any African kingdom or tribe. The documents sometimes even named the names of kings and chiefs that had been passed down in local legend. Seems like someone’s got a dissertation there if they tried to match up these names to actual African rulers.

    I would also like to recommend checking out the African art at the Menil Collection. The Benin bronze castings are impressive. What’s sad thouth is that Benin got rich enough to support all these artisans and sculptors by acting as middlemen in the slave trade. They bought guns and provided slaves in return. I’ve also seen the royal treasure of Benin when it was on tour at the Museum of African Art. Same type of sculpture, but made of solid gold. Actually I think the bronzes at the Menil are better in quality and detail. You can’t say Dominique de Menil (one of the founding mothers of modern Houston) didn’t have taste.

    Hey Niel, how about doing some posts on the rich liberls who made this city great? Dominique de Menil would be a good place to start. I will try to contact you privately to give you some name of who to try to contact to get some inside inforomation.

    Comment by bacopa | June 4, 2011

  2. bacopa—Thanks for the comment. I’ll do something with the ideas you suggest. Thanks for your ongoing support of the blog.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | June 5, 2011


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