Thursday, June 19, 2008

Little-known Texas Holiday

On June 19th, 1865, two months after General Lee surrendered at Appomattox, (but four days before Confederate General Stand Watie signed cease-fire accords at Fort Towson) Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas in command of 2,000 Union troops.

Later that day, from a balcony of Galveston's famed Ashton Villa (at that time Union HQ) General Granger read General Order #3 to the assembled citizens:

"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."
Officially known as 'Emancipation Day' or 'Freedom Day', this Texas State Holiday is more commonly known as 'Juneteenth', from combining the words 'June' and 'Nineteenth' -- the date -- and has been celebrated since 1866, becoming an official State holiday in 1980.

Usually marked with large outdoor-type gatherings -- parades, cook-outs, park parties, BBQ's and such -- Juneteenth has spread to 29 other States and the District of Columbia.

This has been your official LawDog Bit 'O Trivia for the day.

LawDog

10 comments:

D.W. Drang said...

Thank you, sir.

I knew about Juneteenth, I hadn't realized that it was inspired, so to speak, by a proclamation by General Granger, under whom my great-great-grandfather served at the Battle of Chickamauga. (As I related on my own blog. Ahem.)

Xavier said...

You know LawDog, Juneteenth is celebrated in Louisiana as well.

Diane said...

It is celebrated here with enough er..."vigor" that local law enforcement is putting extra officers out for the celebration from 150 to 200.

We respect the ocassion, we just have a segment of rather stupid people.

farmist said...

I'm very glad to learn that Juneteenth is a "real" holiday, instead of an invention like Kwanzaa.

Anonymous said...

Also interesting is the history of the great Stand Watie.
LawMom

martywd said...

Funny thing?  I've never heard of 'Juneteenth' even though I see at Wikipedia that June 19 is an actual observed holiday in the Socialist Republic of New York, where I lived before moving to South Central Texas?  I guess I was out the day they taught this at the gummint school back in NY?  Funny thing again?  I never saw any mention of 'Juneteenth' yesterday out here where I live in Texas, now!  Thanks for the education, LawDog.

SteveC said...

Actually, slavery did not end on Juneteenth. "While slavery DID end in the former Confederacy in April, 1865, it continued as a legal institution in the Union states of Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri, and West Virginia until December, 1865, when the 13th Amendment was ratified (Delaware and Kentucky joined Texas in voting against it)." (from http://www.civilwarhistory.com/slavetrade/blackslavery.htm)

Jim w. said...

I know a lot of people I wish would read the last half of the last sentence of that announcement.

reno said...

".....will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere."

Yeah Jim, looks like times have changed.

Anonymous said...

Based on past "juneteenth" (aka the black 4th of July aka beat whitey to death day) celebrations it will no doubt result in some really entertaining youtube and liveleak videos.