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History Of Juneteenth—Juneteenth 2012

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 2012 will be Tuesday, June 19th.

( Here is a listing of 2012 Juneteenth events in Galveston, Houston and College Station.) 

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.

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

The freedom of all people is connected and the work of freedom is up to each of us.

June 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Saw The Emancipation Proclamation Today–The Work Of Freedom And Progress Is Up To Each Of Us

This afternoon I went to the Civil War exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences.

I saw the original Emancipation Proclamation that has been on display in Houston for 6 days. Today was the last day the Proclamation was being shown to the public.

The remainder of the exhibit is at the museum through April 29. It is well worth your time.

I don’t have any pictures of the exhibit as you were not allowed to take pictures. The photo above of the original Proclamation shows well enough what I saw.

The original is kept by the National Archives and Records Administration. If you poke around you can find a National Archives app for your mobile device that offers up a famous old document each day.

Here is a transcript of the Proclamation. 

Depite the promise of freedom offered by the Emancipation Proclamation, Jim Crow replaced slavery in our nation for a century after the Civil War.

Today the same people who fought racial progress to the least breath, oppose President Obama as much or more so for who he is and what he represents as they do for any of his policies.

Things do sometimes change for the better and you can always appeal to the best impulses of our fellow Americans.

On the other hand, evil is for real and the work of progress and freedom is up to each of us.

February 21, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

June 4, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

You Can Laugh At Trump Or Palin—Just Be Certain You Don’t End Up In A Concentration Camp

You can laugh or think you know more than people like Donald Trump…..

(Below–Donald Trump. Picture by David Shankbone.)

Sarah Palin…..

(Below–Sarah Palin. Photo by T Toes.)

Ron Paul…..

(Below–Ron Paul. Photo by Gage Skidmore.)  

And Michele Bachmann.

( Below–Michele Bachmann.) 

Just be sure you don’t end up in a concentration camp or living in a dictatorship of some kind.

(The best political history I am aware of Nazi Germany is the three-volume history of Nazi governance of Germany by Richard J. Evans.)

If you think these things can’t happen here, review the history of Native Americans who were almost wiped out by the genocidal policies and actions of the American government and the American people.

Think of Black Americans who have been forced to confront hundreds of years of slavery and Jim Crow.

Nazi Germany was a place you would recognize. There were newspapers, radio, cars, movies, and a politics of  left and right in  the years leading up to Nazi Germany. These things can happen in the most modern and up-to-date societies.

You are mistaken to give any benefit of the doubt at all to people in our nation who would eliminate the social safety net, deny the facts on where the President was born, establish propaganda channels like Fox News, blame immigrants for our troubles, and slash education funding to the bone so we are all ignorant.

You can laugh at people who believe crazy things. You can think you are smarter than Sarah Palin. You can see Donald Trump as a clown.

History tells us time after time that nothing is so horrible it can’t come true.

It is up to each of us as individuals to make the decision to work together to be certain that people we see as ”stupid, or “ignorant” or as “clowns”  don’t end up with the power to dictate our futures and ruin our lives.

April 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Governor Perry Correct To Call For Prayer To End Drought—Maybe Plagues Are Being Visited Upon Texas For Neglect Of The Poor And We Should Pray For A Better Governor


Texas Governor Rick Perry has declared three days of prayer in response to the drought that is impacting Texas and helping to cause severe wildfires.

( Above–It is hot and dry in Texas) 

These three days run from April 22 to April 24.

Here is the link to the official proclamation.

From the proclamation—

WHEREAS, these dire conditions have caused agricultural crops to fail, lake and reservoir levels to fall and cattle and livestock to struggle under intense stress, imposing a tremendous financial and emotional toll on our land and our people; and

WHEREAS, throughout our history, both as a state and as individuals, Texans have been strengthened, assured and lifted up;  it seems right and fitting that the people of Texas should join together in prayer to humbly seek an end to this devastating drought and these dangerous wildfires;

This is good. Texans of all kinds find solace and hope in prayer. Governor Perry is right to call upon Texans to consider the hard times that many in our state are dealing with at the moment.

However, if prayer is a possible solution to the drought impacting all Texans, it could also be so that the drought is a plague being visited upon Texas from God for how hard our hearts our towards the poor and most vulnerable in our state.

Governor Perry and our Texas legislature are currently considering brutal cuts to our state budget. These cuts would hurt some of the most needy and most hard-working Texans.

Texans have the option to pray for Governor Perry to be a more decent human being. Texans have the option to pray that we consider climate science as we deal with droughts and hurricanes in the Lone Star State.

Here is a 1953 Life Magazine article reporting how Texans at that time also dealt with a drought and prayed for rain.  Maybe at that time Texans were being punished for Jim Crow laws. Maybe Texas has been on the wrong side of God for a long time.

Prayer and concern for others is of great value. At the same time, we must recall John Kennedy‘s words” that here on Earth God’s work must truly be our own.”  

(Below–The Seventh Plague as painted  in 1823 by John Martin. The seventh plague visited upon Egypt by God was as follows–“And Moses stretcheth out his rod towards the heavens, and Jehovah hath given voices and hail, and fire goeth towards the earth, and Jehovah raineth hail on the land of Egypt’


April 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

December 29 Marks Another Year Of Texas Statehood In Our Federal Union

Today is the 165th anniversary of Texas Statehood.  Texas became a state on December 29, 1845.

(Above–Texas State Capitol. As you see, the U.S. Flag flies above the Texas State Flag. Photo by Daniel Mayer.)

Here are some basic facts about Texas from the excellent Texas Almanac.

While our Governor, Rick Perry, has engaged in seditious talk about Texas leaving our federal union, Texas is one of the 50 states of the United States of America.

In aggressively promoting a so-called states rights agenda, the Governor shows a historical fondness for the Southern lost cause of slavery and for the Apartheid like brutality of Jim Crow.

Loyal Texans see no conflict between seeing what is best about the many contributions Texas has made to our nation, and, at the same time, being part of our great nation.

(The San Jacinto Battlefield Monument and the USS Texas battleship in LaPorte, Texas.  LaPorte is just outside of Houston. Texas independence was won in 1836 at San Jacinto. The monument and the battleship are well worth a visit. Photo by Louis Vest.)

There are many fine resources to learn about Texas.

Lone Star Nation–The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence by H.W. Brands will tell you all you need to know about how Texans won independence from Mexico.

Texas: A Modern History by David McComb is short and readable history of Texas history all the way up to the current century.

The Texas Almanac is simply one of the best reference books I own on any topic. The Almanac is published by the Texas State Historical Society.

The Handbook of Texas Online is very comprehensive on many aspects of Texas both past and present. The Handbook is also published by the TSHS.

I’m certain there are many additional quality resources about our state.

Congratulations to all Texans for being lucky enough to live in a state that is justifiably famous all around the world, and that is also a proud part of our union.

(Below—The President of the United States of America.)

December 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gay Takeover Of Houston Underway—Let’s Have Both Social And Economic Justice In Our City

The openly gay Annise Parker has been elected Mayor of Houston.

Also, gay folks were elected to two of the five city council seats that are elected by the entire city.

(Correction–-A reader points out I am mistaken about the number of city at-large spots won by a gay candidate. It is one instead of two. Please see the comments below. Thanks to blog reader Horwitz for the help. One less solider for the gay takeover! )

Some on the right had warned of a “gay takeover” of Houston if these people were to be elected.

The gay takeover is here.

It seems to be going okay so far.

I’ve made myself a cup of tea and later I’ll do some reading before bed.

I think I can used to living in our new “gayocracy” here in Houston.

I hope these gay folks do a better job than straight folks have done of running this city.

Houston has had a black Mayor in recent years despite being the largest Jim Crow city in the U.S. in 1960.

Ms. Parker and her partner adopted black kids. You see the kids, now adults, in the grainy picture above that I took off of my T.V.

It really is all something of a miracle—Though a miracle that many worked hard to make happen.

Houston has plenty of problems. We have a lot of poor people in Houston.

But we must also be glad for the progress that has been made since Houston was the largest Jim Crow city in the United States.

Let’s now work for economic justice as well to match the ongoing process in our social relations.

December 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 5 Comments

What Is Juneteenth?—It Is Up To You To Learn About Your Freedom

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.

Please click here for a list of Juneteenth celebrations and observances in the United States.

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 Americanabout 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.

The knowledge you need for your freedom is out there. You just may not be aware.

It’s up to you to gain the knowledge you require about your history. I mean this for people of all colors because history is a shared thing. The fate of all people is connected.

The knowledge you need is on-line, in books, and at the library. You don’t need money if you are willing to learn.

You are intelligent and you are able to gain the knowledge you need.

Of course— just because someone says that you are free, does not mean that you really are free.

After Juneteenth was the failure of Reconstruction and over 100 years of Jim Crow.

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.

( I’ve also written what I think is 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 by his overseer.

File:Cicatrices de flagellation sur un esclave.jpg

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

And even today we are not in full control of our fates. Circumstance and chance play a role in life.

Yet you have the option to learn about your freedom and to conduct yourself as a free person.

I ask all people to make use of this option.

June 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Creation Story Of Reconstruction Era Blacks

Below is a creation story as told by black preachers in Reconstruction era America. It comes from the book The Age of Lincoln by Orville Vernon Burton.

From the book— 

“Throughout the southern states whites heard a different version of the creation story. In His own image, African American preachers declared, God created Adam and Eve black. They turned white, and the hair straightened, from sin and guilt, from encountering God after eating the forbidden fruit.”

As you can guess, stories like this did not go over well with southern whites. Black preachers, black folks, and whites sympathetic to black progress in the years after the Civil War were routinely harassed, attacked and killed in the post Civil War South. 

Reconstruction was a time of great potential and tragic failure. It’s a time in our history that merits study by all Americans. While 2008 is a better day than 1875, you can still see today many echos of a brutal past. 

PBS has good information on Reconstruction. 

Eric Foner’s Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 is a leading history of this time.

It remains hard to imagine that all that blood was shed in the Civil War and black folks still had to endure 100 more years of Jim Crow.

Nothing is so lousy that it can not come true. The work of freedom is never done.

October 4, 2008 Posted by | Books, History | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

As Slavery, Civil War & Jim Crow Followed One Another, So Could Bush, McCain & Palin

Some fear, as they should, the idea of George W. Bush, John McCain, and Sarah Palin serving successively in the White House.

As unbelievably bad as this would be, history teaches nothing is so horrible that it can’t occur. For example—

Over 200 years of American slavery,

 

Was followed by a brutal Civil War

And then 100 more years of Jim Crow

The good news is that we can still work to elect Barack Obama and defeat John McCain. We don’t have to accept one lousy thing and then another and then another.

September 12, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Politics | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

History Of The Texas Primary

The Texas Presidential Primary, to be held March 4, is a big deal.

Democrats Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton are working to the take the largest share of the 228 delegates to be awarded.

( Photo above is of Galveston at sunset. If you live near the Texas coast, this might be your concept of Texas.)

Mike Huckabee hopes Evangelical Christians in Texas will help him add to a number of Southern victories gained so far against John McCain. 140 delegates are up in the Republican race.

32 of the Democratic delegates will be superdelegates. (Please click here for a Texas Liberal history of the superdelegate idea. )

I maintain that the superdelegate idea is undemocratic and goes against the idea of an open and fair Democratic Party.

( The process by which Texas delegates are selected is mind-numbing and not the province of this post. Here’s a link to part one and part two of an explanation of this system by the Texas political blog Burnt Orange Report.)

Not surprisingly, given the lack of enthusiasm for democracy found historically among the Texas political class—-and from many of the Anglo voters who have dominated Texas politics—the Texas Presidential primary does not have a long history.

The first Texas presidential primary was held in 1980.

( Here is a concept of Texas some might have—An oil rig in the middle of town.  I’ve never seen this in my nine years in Texas. Though I have seen oil rigs within the city limits of Houston.)

Texas was for many years part of the one-party “Solid South” that anchored Jim Crow segregation in America.

This system had multiple parts.

The two-thirds rule at the Democratic National Convention assured that the South would have a veto over any presidential candidate who threatened progress on Civil Rights. It took two-thirds of all delegates to ratify a nominee.  That rule is now gone.

On Election Day in November, the South, including Texas, would almost always vote for the Democratic nominee.  A Texas exception to this was in 1928 when Republican Herbert Hoover defeated Catholic Al Smith. (Some Texans  must have sat around the dinner table deciding if they disliked Catholics or black people the most.)

( Here is Al Smith with Babe Ruth. You can likely figure out who is Smith and who is Ruth. )

This Southern unity prevented the Democratic nominee from pushing Civil Rights during the campaign (If he had any inclination to do so to start with.) since he could not alienate such a large block of states.

In Congress, Southern Democratic Senators and Representatives, often reelected without opposition, built seniority and gained control of important committees. This also stopped any progress on Civil Rights.

Here is a link to a history of the “Whites Only” Democratic primary used in Texas for many years to determine nominees–and certain November winners in a one party state–for the great majority of Texas offices.

In the U.S. Senate, the filibuster rule allowed Southern Senators to block Civil Rights legislation.  This may all seem a bit off the topic of the Texas Primary, but it gets at the political climate in Texas for many years and how it was that the Progressive-era reform of the presidential primary did not reach Texas until 1980.

Today Texas, along with Hawaii, California and New Mexico, is a state where the majority of people are not white. That’s amazing when you think of the John Wayne/roughneck image of Texas.

Many of these non-white folks are immigrants.

(The Port of Houston is immense and it connects Houston and Texas to the world. Many immigrants come to Texas today and they are–for the most part so far–accepted.)

Most of these immigrants are accepted. Even undocumented immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere have not  been disturbed much as of yet. If this has to do with the role these immigrants play in the Texas economy, or the possible–mostly unrealized– political clout of Hispanic voters in Texas, I could not fully say.

Roughly one-third of Texans are Hispanic. Though many are not legally here. And of those that are here legally, many do not vote. Texas is just over 11% black. Almost 24 million people live in Texas. Here is a link to some basic facts about Texas.

(Below is the border between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. Hard to see any distinctions between people from this perspective.)

George W. Bush won Texas with 61% of the vote in 2004. Republicans are in firm control of Texas politically.

That first presidential primary in 1980 produced an interesting result. Ronald Reagan of California defeated George H. W. Bush of Houston, Texas by a 51%-47% margin. This was on May 3, 1980.

Mr. Reagan had mostly wrapped up the nomination by that point, but it still shows the strength conservative in the Texas Republican party against a strong home-state candidate.

On the other side, President Jimmy Carter beat Ted Kennedy 56%-23%. I think today the liberal would do somewhat better.

Texas was a Super Tuesday battleground for Democrats in 1988. Mike Dukakis rook first place with 33% against 25% for Jesse Jackson and 20% for Southerner Al Gore. This win helped confirm Mr. Dukakis as the front-runner, though it would take another round of primaries to make it more certain. (Please click here for a Texas Liberal history of Super Tuesday.)

Vice President Bush was an easy home state winner in 1988.

Though as an incumbent President, Mr Bush’s 69% against 24% for Pat Buchanan in 1992 was not so impressive.

The son, George W. Bush, beat John McCain 88% to 7% in 2000. Not a close call. Mr. McCain may do better this time.

In 2004, while Bush was unopposed among Republicans, John Kerry won two-thirds of the vote on his way to the nomination.

2008 promises to be the most interesting and most relevant Texas presidential primary yet held.

Texas Liberal is leading the way in political history blogging in 2008.

February 9, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Elections, History, Houston, Immigration, Political History, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments