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Celebrating Juneteenth

Celebrating Juneteenth

To reflect on freedom

Through the course of conversation, I found many of my freedom-loving friends had never heard of Juneteenth.

Being a native Texan living right up the road from Galveston, maybe I’ve taken for granted that the 19th of June has always been a day of significance and celebration. President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 two years into the Civil War, but the proclamation’s issuance didn’t trigger nationwide freedom for the enslaved.

While the Civil War came to a welcome end on June 2, 1865, it wasn’t until June 19th that the last slaves learned they were free. It was on Juneteenth that Union General Granger read “General Order No. 3” on the balcony of Galveston’s Ashton Villa.

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 quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

The day has been celebrated ever since.

You can watch Part 2 and Part 3 by clicking the links.

Juneteenth is a testimony of how an imperfect nation bore the pain of death and division so that the right of liberty might expand its reach.

“But what a feeling can come over a man just from seeing the things he believes in and hopes for symbolized in the concrete form of a man. In something that gives a focus to all the other things he knows to be real. Something that makes unseen things manifest and allows him to come to his hopes and dreams through his outer eye and through the touch and feel of his natural hand.”

-From Ralph Ellison’s unfinished work, Juneteenth

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Comments

I truly appreciate this article.

Unlike the divisive crap from the likes of Al Sharpton and others, this commemoration is patriotic, positive and probably a lot of fun.

I, too, grew up in Texas. One of our traditions was that you couldn’t eat watermelon before Juneteenth.

It’s a great holiday, because it is all about freedom, and you can celebrate it any way you like.

Much, much later, I found that people on the Eastern seaboard thought watermelon was a black thing.

I had not known the significance of the date. Thank you for clarifying!

It certainly looks like the Black community is celebrating with the traditional riots, assaults, cop-killings and whatnot.

    Valerie in reply to SeniorD. | June 19, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Nah, you are talking about the fakestroturf radicals, who are busy wearing out their welcome in the Black community.

Charles Fremont. If you don’t know him, look him up. A truly remarkable character in American history, and the author of the FIRST emancipation proclamation…which Lincoln rescinded.

He was also married to one of America’s most fascinating ladies, Jesse Hart Benton Fremont.

    9thDistrictNeighbor in reply to Ragspierre. | June 19, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    This portrait of John C. Frémont hangs in the Union League Club in Chicago. He was a handsome man and lived an unbelievable life.

They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

My how those days have changed.

2nd Ammendment Mother | June 19, 2015 at 7:34 pm

Our little bitty community has always celebrated Juneteenth. The churches do amazing public BBQ’s, downtown art show and a really nice parade and some years they do some pioneer demonstrations or one of our Buffalo Soldiers will read from the diaries of the men he honors.

The money they raise goes to scholarships for local high school students – the more they raise the more they give. This year they gave out 3 scholarships – 1 to a black young man, 1 to a Hispanic young lady and 1 to a white young man. All of them are merit scholarships for the highest scores on a Texas history test (fact recall and essays) plus a resume reflecting school involvement, a letter of recommendation from their pastor and community service.

Now that’s a scholarship you can be proud you earned, not only for what it represents, but because you worked for it.

We should have shipped ALL of them back to Africa.

    9thDistrictNeighbor in reply to Mark. | June 19, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    You are an absolute fool.

    xdevildog in reply to Mark. | June 20, 2015 at 1:31 am

    By that ridiculous logic I should be split in two with the halves returned to Ireland and Germany, not being a Native American and all.

    For those who are wondering, yes I will fight everyone in the room after a couple of drinks – and do it with precision!

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to xdevildog. | June 21, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      I used to know a girl whose mother was Chinese, and her father German. They opened a restaurant, and the food they served left you hungry after an hour or so…. for POWER!!!

    platypus in reply to Mark. | June 20, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Have you ever sought help for your mental problem(s)? You really should; they are doing amazingly good work nowadays.

      weakglovehand in reply to platypus. | June 20, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      Mark may be a bigot, but he’s not a mental case. The “amazing” things that big Pharma and Psychiatry do, usually involves innocent people getting hurt or killed at the hands of those that have been treated. The patient, treated without physical diagnosis, is left to fend for himself in a tougher world with less and less mental faculty. The perfect prison from which there is no escape.

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