Oh, Happy Day!!
Updated: Aug 14, 2020
June 19, 1865 was a momentous day for the enslaved blacks in Galveston Texas. It's the day they found out they were no longer bound to a life of uncompensated servitude. The Civil War was over more than two years earlier. President Lincoln had made his emancipation speech but the blacks in Galveston did not know they had been liberated. The Emancipation Proclamation only released enslaved blacks from the states that rebelled and seceded from the union. Texas was one of those states but the rest of the country, which was the majority, were allowed to continue enslaving blacks. Then things changed...
The government sent out a military emissary to travel through little southern hamlets and remote places announcing the news of liberation. The proclamation made by the nation's executive branch stated all slaves, nationwide, were to be freed. It was on this day, 1865 in Galveston Texas that the last unaware people were informed. Oh, what a happy day that must have been! Jubilation had to abound in the hearts and minds of the former slaves. Unfortunately, racial bitterness and suppression did not just disappear after the declaration but it was a start, a stepping stone from the government for them to regain their humanity, reclaim some recognizable dignity and hope for a better life unfettered to the shackles of enslavement. My ancestors were strong people to endure what they did for centuries but by June 1865, many were God-fearing believers. They knew Who to thank and give praise to for their release. I'm positive most of the enslaved people thanked their God and Savior for that glorious new day and I praise and thank Him too.
This video gives a brief overview of the origin and growth of the Juneteenth tradition. It is my opinion that we, as African Americans we should embrace, reflect and celebrate this relevant event and the full story of our black American history. It is perfectly fine to celebrate July 4th but June 19th should be our true Independence Day. Juneteenth is worthy of African American's individual commemoration and the nation's recognition but that is only part of the story. There were thousands of black soldiers, freed blacks, fighting even after the emancipation was proclaimed, that brought the south to its knees and the war to a decisive end solidifying union military efforts. African Americans can be proud of their ancestor's active roll fighting for their own freedom.
HAPPY JUNETEENTH DAY!