Black History encapsulates more than a month. This new daily series will take a look at some lesser known events and people in the world.
July 4th is widely known as a major holiday where America won its independence. But June 19th should be considered just as big. On that day in 1865, slavery was abolished in Texas. This move ultimately signified a general liberation of black slaves in the Confederate territories -- two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s famous Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Major General Gordon Granger led Union soldiers to Galveston, Texas and told its inhabitants the outcome of the Civil War.
Why was there a two year delay? Union solider numbers were small so there wasn’t any real way to get the new order enforced. Luckily, General Robert E. Lee surrendered in 1865 and General Granger’s appearance in the town was enough to get everyone on board with the law.
During the event that is Juneteenth, there are many variations of celebrations. Some read the Emancipation Proclamation; others participate in rodeos. Or you can fish, barbeque, or go to a prayer service. There’s a wide swath of enjoyable activities.
Sadly, Juneteenth isn’t widely observed both in and outside of the black community. Actually, it started seeing a decline in the early 1900’s. It even lost its place in textbook history. There was a resurgence in the 50’s and 60’s. To this day, there’s a subset of black that celebrate Juneteenth -- often talking of the race’s achievements rather than slavery.