It was June 19th, 1865 and slaves in Texas finally discovered they had been freed two years earlier when Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Why did it take two years for Texas to learn the truth? The wonderful in an Op-Ed today: "Texas seceded from the Union in 1861 and joined the Confederacy. At that point, almost one-quarter of Texas families owned at least one slave. Following the Emancipation Proclamation, Southern slaveholders began moving their human captives into Texas, where few Union soldiers were stationed and the proclamation could be ignored.
"That changed on June 19, 1865, when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and 2,000 Union soldiers arrived in Galveston and declared all slaves free by reading this proclamation:
“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 rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”
One year later, the day was celebrated in Texas, but it took until 1980 for it to become an official State Holiday. And now the campaign has begun to make it an official National Holiday - a campaign that Alveda King supports:
"All of us can stand to brush up on our history and this date is too important to be forgotten. Some major companies, like the NFL and Nike, are making it a formal holiday.
"I think it’s time to go further and make it a national holiday. Statues of Confederate generals and racist officials are being toppled all over the country, but we can never erase our painful past with regard to slavery. What we can and should do, as Americans of every color, is celebrate its end."
What do you think? Is it time to make Juneteenth a National Holiday?
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