Thursday, June 18, 2009

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF JUNETEENTH?

The last Battle of the Civil War was fought at Palmito Hill, near Brownsville Texas more than a month after Lees surerender




In 1984, in the mid part of the month of June, the XMrsBulletholes and I were on our way to Toledo Bend Lake for a camping trip. We kept passing groups of Black folks on the side of the road. Their mood seemed quite festive and it was like a 200 mile long picnic on the side of the road.
She asked me :
'What are all these black folks doing all up and down this road? Is it some kind of party?"
I looked over to her and grinned and said
"I guess they are just being Black!"
It was about then that I realized that it was "Juneteenth", the 19th of June and a holiday in Texas for many years. I believe it is now observed in 31 States as well.

After the battle of Antietam in September of 1862, Lincoln announced his Emancipation Proclamation which was to free the Slaves. It took effect on January 1st of 1863. Lee surrendered at Appomattox in April of 1865.

Two months later June 19, 1865, the news finally reached Texas.
Union General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston to announce
the end of the War, and the Emancipation Proclamation from 2 and a half years earlier. It was news to the slaves in Galveston and throughout the State.

"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 rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer."

"...Employer and free laborer." For a people that have been enslaved for 400 years, could there be any words more powerful than this?

The following line appears throughout the Internet regarding Juneteenth.
"Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States."
Can someone please tell me what would be another Holiday commemorating the ending of Slavery in the United States? Did I miss that day?

It should be noted that Slavery was not really banned in the United States until December 6, 1865 with the ratification of the 13 Amendment to the Constitution.

The State of Mississippi did not Ratify this Amendment until 1995...

7 comments:

laughingattheslut said...

One year on this weekend about twenty-five years ago, a couple of us went into a convenience store to get sodas. The guys in the store black, and we were told that it was their holiday and that they weren't going to serve us.

They must have been joking, but seeing as there were so few of us, and it was not a part of town that we were normally in, we did not stick around to find out.

West Texas Insomniac said...

BH, slavery may have been banned in 1865, but...

I was doing a deed search on a piece of property I own in Llano County. I found a General Warranty Deed dated 6/10/1907. I wanted to quote some of the deed restrictions:

"...provided however that the grantee herein nor his heirs shall ever use, or permit to be used said premises or any part thereof as a gaming house,house of prostitution, , nor for the manufacture of any malt vinous, spiritous or intoxicating liquors, nor shall said premises ever be sold, devised, aliened, leased or rented or otherwise disposed of to any persons of negro or mexican decent. Upon violation of any of said conditions this deed shall become null and vod and said property revery to granor, his heirs or legal representative."

I thought you might find that interesting. tb

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Fascinating piece of historial information and introducing me to a holiday I was totally unaware of, Steve! A great read!

Happy Father's Day!

leslie said...

They should change the wording, "oldest", to "only". It's the only one I know of.

And seriously...1995??? for the ratifying of the 13th Amendment in Mississippi?????
wow

I always say Happy Juneteenth, out loud, on the day.

bulletholes said...

Laffin, sounds like the chickens came home to roost...
Ihat is interesting WTI, ansd i wish it came as a surprise.

Hey, pie!

Lesley! yes, it is the only one I know of as well. And yes, what I say about Mississippi is true. In fact, in Vicksburg, the strtegic city beseiged by the North during the War, having been reduced to eating rats and finally surrendering on July 4, 1863...Vicksburg did not celebrate the 4th of July for 88 years!

Barbara said...

I am so glad I didn't grow up in Mississippi. It has never been a friend to black people!

Anonymous said...

Dolphus Weary "I Aint Coming Back"
Read it. Proud Mississipian--Tina