Texarkana, TX 94° View Live Radar Wed H 86° L 67° Thu H 86° L 66° Fri H 85° L 68° Weather Sponsored By:

Juneteenth: Holiday marks end of slavery in Texas and symbolically across South

Juneteenth: Holiday marks end of slavery in Texas and symbolically across South

June 19th, 2017 in Opinion Editorial

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in September of 1862, declaring that slaves would be freed in those states deemed to still be in rebellion against the United States as of January 1863.

The country was in the grips of the Civil War. Though Lincoln's order only applied to 10 states that were part of the Confederacy, there was no way to enforce freedom at the time.

As the tides of war changed and Union forces began to occupy areas under Confederate control, freedom came gradually across the South.

It would be more than two years before freedom came to the slaves of Texas.

On June 18, 1865, General Gordon Granger of the Union Army arrived with his troops in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state. And the next day he walked out onto the balcony of Ashton Villa in that city and read the following:

"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," he said.

Former slaves took to the streets of Galveston to celebrate. Their joy spread across the state as the news spread.

It became a tradition across Texas and eventually across the South to celebrate the end of slavery on June 19. Eventually, the name Juneteenth was coined to mark the day.

The day has been recognized since 1980 as an official state holiday in Texas. Forty-one other states—including Arkansas—and the District of Columbia also recognize the day.

It's been 150 years since Gen. Granger made his announcement. A great evil was ended that day. The following decades saw oppression and a struggle for equality. Many would argue that we are still not where we should be. That's true. But we have made enormous strides.

Today is a celebration of freedom. It's a reminder of our past and of our hope for the future. It's not a holiday for any one people, but for all Americans.

Today is Juneteenth in our Texas, our United States.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com