June 19, 1865
Angela Y. Walton-Raji, former HOST GFS Angela
proclamation from the Executive office of the United States,
all slaves are free....."
.....and so it begins, the declaration made in the city of Galveston Texas, in June of 1865 bringing word from Washington of the surrender at Appomattox, and of the release from bondage of all Africans held formerly as slaves. This celebration is the oldest celebration of its kind that commemorates the freedom of African slaves from bondage.
The first Juneteenth occurred on June 19, 1865, when General Gordon
Granger arrived in Galveston Texas and read the proclamation. It
took some time for the word to spread throughout the city, but within a
few short hours, word had spread, slaves dropped their tools of bondage
and the first
The festivities began on all levels. From Galveston to smaller towns in East Texas, celebrations began ranging from small thanksgiving prayer services to jubilant festive events. The city of Galveston was said to have resembled a northern city by the almost lack of black presence in the city itself. The city's former slaves were with family and loved ones savoring the first sweet moments of freedom with each other.
There have been many emancipation celebrations throughout the south,
celebrated on various days in other states. The term Juneteenth itself
was not coined until the 1920's. In other places in the south, the celebration
is one where black workers have actually been excused from work to
celebrate the events. In Texas during the era of segregation, Juneteenth
celebrants were actually allowed access to whites only amusement centers,
until the inequity was pointed out to the city commission, that access
should be year round, and not
Eventually the celebration died over the years, but it experienced a rebirth when it was noted in the 1970's that the state of Texas continued to celebrate Confederate Heroes day, and within a short time the annual Juneteenth celebration returned with not only the celebration of freedom being a focus, but also a celebration of history, and culture being at the heart of the events. The event has spread widely now throughout the country, and is an annual event from New England, throughout the midwest, deep south, and to the western states.
Juneteenth is here to stay, as a celebration of African people in the American experience.
Ruth Stubblefield Researched Texas From Her Motor Home
It is amazing to look at Ruth Stubblefield, a member of AfriGeneas, who literally jumped in her mobile home drove to Texas and parked near the source of her research in Walker County. In her own words:
" I'm spending 5-6 months here in this nest of Stubblefields and finding a wealth of info. Things are here you can't find anywhere else. Marriage records, Original unclaimed marriage certificates (found my Gr-Grandmothers cert. 103 years old), Tax records for their property every year since 1872, Original Divorce complaints and action, My gr-grandfathers name on a list of blacks who voted in a special election in 1873. I found records I never thought existed. I now have enough to keep me busy for the next year....Ruth Stubblefield "Ruth what courage and commitment! We all want to be just like you when we grow up!
Spanish Colonial Period to Statehood
African Americans are not newcomers to Texas. A few arrived with the first Europeans. They were actually people of color who were in fact Moors. A Moor is a Moslem of mixed Berber and Arab ancestry, especially one of the Saracen invaders of Spain in the eighth century or a descendant of the Saracens. For centuries before Texas was discovered, the Spaniards and Moors had warred, with captives being enslaved by both sides. The Spanish explorers brought Moorish slaves with them to the area we now know as Texas, and many of them stayed. Some became freedmen and won acceptance in the Spanish outposts. Victor Blanco, a man of color, was second alcalde of San Antonio in 1809
Juneteenth.com World Wide Celebration
AL. Juneteenth Heritage Festival
in Jacksonville, FL.
Juneteenth in Ohio:
of Juneteenth Lineage
What Is Juneteenth?
General Granger brought the news to Galveston:
Every year in the land of the Lone Star State,
Leaving their shackles where they fell on the ground,
Some went no further than the shack out back
Some went to the nearest place of worship
Some ran as fast as they could
Some went to the closest speakeasy
Some swam the way of the river
Some went straight to the promise land,
No matter where they went
©Sojourner Kincaid Rolle
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