On June 19 1865 General Grangrer (http://ngeorgia.com/history/granger.html) read General Order No. 3 announcing the abolishment of slavery for all times in the United States of America. Although some slaves had been freed earlier in the war, in that part of Texas slavery was still the way of the world for African Americans.
President Lincoln first issued the Emancipation Proclamation shortly after the battle of Antietem,http://www.civilwar.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&amp;amp;id=1727&Itemid=39 however with no Union Army around to enforce the Proclamation slavery continued until General Granger rode into Galveston Texas and told the slaves and their owners that slavery was forever abolished.
General Granger also told the slaves they were free to stay and work out terms with their master, or they could leave and go wherever they wanted. Some freed people stayed some left. Their have been lots of accounts of freed people being murdered on for leaving their former masters. Hundreds of freed people caught in between returning Confederate Veterans and Union Army protected Zones were slaughtered by the returning Confederates.It has been said Lincoln wanted to issue the proclamation sooner but didn’t feel like he had the political capital because of the defeats the Union army was suffering. After the Union victory at Antitiem
Lincoln issued the proclamation and 2 and half years later General Granger announced the total and forever abolition of slavery.So Juneteenth is the celebration of when the last slaves where freed in America. Celebrated on June 1865 to combat the day General Granger and his soldiers delivered the news of General Lees surrender, the end of the war and freedom to those still in bondage.Juneteenth has been celebrated by some African Americans since the end of the civil war especially in the south. Originally Juneteenth was a day of remembrance and celebration with some slaves making a pilgrimage to Galveston, Texas. As African Americans were able to save enough money to purchase property, they were able to host Juneteenth celebrations on land that they owned and paid for. These celebrations featured food and drinks, dancing, reminiscing and prayer.
Their are accounts of white landowners trying to break up Juneteenth celebrations because they didn’t want to give African Americans laborers the day off, however most Landowners allowed their laborers to have the day off some even donated food or money. During one of the early celebrations of Juneteenth the Rev. Jack Yates held a fund raiser that yielded $1000.00 along with enough money to purchase Emancipation park in Houston , Texas.
Juneteenth continued to be celebrated by the African American community throughout the south until the crippling economic realities of the great depression laid waste to millions of peoples fortunes, life savings, ect. African Americans who were already suffering from crippling poverty as well as blatant racial intimidation, where left without any extra money to celebrate Umpteenth or most other holidays. So having more urgent and pressing needs Junteeth was not widely celebrated and was somewhat forgotten in the African American community until the civil rights movement of the 60's and 70‘s.
In 1980 the Texas legislator passed a law making Juneteenth (http://www.elecvillage.com/juneteen.htm) an official holiday. The passing of this legislation was made possible due to the efforts of Al Edwards, an African American state legislator from Texas. Nationally known museums such as the Smithsonian, the Henry Ford Museum have both started sponsoring Juneteenth-centered events. No doubt as African Americans work their way up the social and economic latter more of us will celebrate and honor June 19 or Juneteenth as a day of reflection that all Americans not just African Americans can be proud of. Major Kudos to the Freed people for making Juneteenth a day that all of the world will come to know, love and respect. Mark Bey