Thursday, June 19, 2008

Juneteenth

Today, June 19th, 2008, commemorates this day, back in 1895, when Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops, arrived on Galveston Island to take possession of the Texas and enforce the emancipation of its slaves.
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.
Juneteenth is an official state holiday in Texas and is traditionally celebrated with parades and picnics feasting on barbecue, cakes, and pies served potluck style.

Those familiar with history will notice that this was nearly three years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation (September 22, 1862). In Texas, we may be a bit slow sometimes; but, eventually we do right. May this tradition continue so that, eventually, we'll do right for people today being denied basic privileges.