On June 19, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was first passed, 250,000 slaves in Texas finally learned they were free.
Juneteenth, or what many refer to as America’s other Independence Day, commemorates the announcement that the Civil War had ended and that Lincoln’s proclamation was fully enforceable in the formerly Confederate states.
Standing in Galveston, Texas, Major-General Granger read these words to an assembled crowd:
“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 the rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”
Juneteenth is more than a celebration of General Order #3 or the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom and dignity, a recognition that every life — every Black life — is inherently valuable, and a recommitment to the work of“absolute equality.” We have much to celebrate this Juneteenth, and much work still ahead of us.
Allies Against Slavery was founded on this date in 2010, a poignant reflection of our own aspirations, core values, and mission as an organization. We celebrate today, and we draw inspiration to carry forward the message and work of freedom to those who have been denied their basic dignity and humanity.
Here are some ways to take part in Juneteenth celebrations:
Stay Black and Live(George Washington Carver Museum, 10,000 Fearless First Responders, & others) – Virtual celebration with music, speeches, and a raffle from 6-10pm CST & barbecue plates distributed to local community members most impacted by COVID-19 starting at 5:30 @ the Carver Museum.
Self-guided tours of historic Wheatsville and Clarksville running from June 19-21. Tour includes videos for each stop and optional shoebox lunches from Hoover’s Cooking.
Visit the Greater Austin Black Chamber Website(austinbcc.org)for a list of Black-owned business to support in Austin, and donate to Black-led organizations locally and nationally.
Sign National Juneteenth Observance Foundation’s(nationaljuneteenth.com) petition on change.org to make Juneteenth a national holiday. Texas, through the efforts of African American state legislator Al Edwards, was the first state to recognize Juneteenth as an official state holiday in 1980, but it has yet to be nationally declared.