Monday, June 7, 2010
JUNETEENTH: AN AFRICAN AMERICAN CELEBRATION
This year marks the 145th Anniversary of Juneteenth, a day that observes the end of slavery for the very last of those held in bondage. On June 19th 1865, General Granger of the Union Army came to Galveston Texas announcing the end of the civil war and issued a general order freeing the slaves that resided in 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. . . .
Little did those slaves know that they had already been freed two and a half years previously by the Emancipation Proclamation. Thus began the celebration of Juneteenth.
Although Juneteenth has a long history, only Texas recognizes it as a legal holiday. The tradition spread to other states as African-Americans migrated to neighboring southern states and eventually California. San Francisco is known to have one of the biggest celebrations in the west and this year won’t be any different as the city celebrates the 60th anniversary of its Juneteenth celebration. Though in years past the celebration was to commemorate the end of slavery and the beginning of black liberation, presently, the anniversary is a way for African Americans to reflect, reassess and renew our pride in our history in the United States.
For additional information, check these websites: