Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Juneteenth Ain't jus a Texas Thang

I'm celebrating Juneteenth on Wednesday. Why? because Texans understand that this is part of our heritage. Blacks were freed on Juneteenth, June 19, 1865, although President Lincoln issued the edict on January 1, 1863.

I first tripped upon Juneteenth back in the summer of '80. Being a Virginia Boy assigned to the Army's 1st Cavalry Division Band, I played a 'Gig' about some kinda texas event called Juneteenth. I was amazed of how folks were dancing, eating, and drinking Texas cool-aid --talking this Juneteenth history.

I never heard of Juneteenth

A colonel, Carl Settles, sat me down in the hot Texas shade for a history lesson about the freeing on slaves in Texas. Big deal, I thought. didn't Texas slaves get freed the same time as that of Virginia slaves? Noooo!

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was issued in Washington, D.C. during the height of the American Civil War. Confederates needed slaves to work their agriculture -- the fields. Southerners were adverse to the concept of a Freed Negro. The message had miles to travel.

Fast forward to June 1865 when Union Soldiers issued General Order No. 3 @Galveston, TX.
The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. [Source: Austin American-Statesman, June 16, 2013)
You've heard of MLK day because of it's a national holiday. And Kwanzaa isn't mainstream, but it gets a nice media bump around the Christmas holidays. But as for Juneteenth, it doesn't get much press. That's OK because we Citizens of Texas -- especially those within the minority -- get it. What is free is special..because the freedom is sweetest when it tarries and arrives later on. An 18 month relayed message; totally unfathomable in this Internet Age...true?

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