Nobody knows better than African Americans the true meaning and historical significance of JUNETEETH. Not only have we heard of this special day, it is a day to REFLECT, and yet REJOICE, because this is our true Independence Day.

In these turbulent times with the
Pandemic, Protest, Police & Poverty,
it is a Call to Action for each of us to do our part in making
a CHANGE--Personally, Professionally, and Politically (VOTE).

Below are a few historical Facts about Juneteenth to
share with our friends of all races and cultures who are
now feeling our generational plight and want to help.

Keep the Faith for God is still in Charge.
Blessings always,
Aunt Hattie

Juneteenth (June 19, 2020)

Historic Background of Juneteeth :

June 19, 1865 (First Juneteeth):
Major General Gordon Grainger arrived in Galveston, TX with news
that the Civil War had ended and all the slaves were free. During the
war Union soldiers could not get past the Confederate troops to enter Texas to tell the slaves about the Emancipation Proclamation.
 When the war was over and slavery was officially illegal, plantation owners still did not tell their slaves that they were free. 

As a result, the slaves in Texas did not know that they were free until Major General Granger's announcement two and a half years later. Therefore, his arrival in Texas and the good news on June 19 th , 1865 , is known as the date that the last slaves were freed.
This was the date of the celebration of the
first Juneteenth (also known as Emancipation Day).


January 1st, 1863:
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which declares that all persons held as slaves within states that have seceded from the union are henceforth free . The Proclamation made freeing slaves the official end goal of the American Civil War and allowed African Americans to enlist in the Army and the Navy. The Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the United States, but it set the stage for the constitutional amendment that followed.

April 8th, 1864:
The Senate voted and agreed to add a 13th Amendment to the United States constitution. The 13th amendment abolished slavery in every state.

January 31st, 1865:  T
The House of Representatives voted and agreed to add the 13th amendment to the constitution making slavery illegal in all states.

March 3rd, 1865--1872:
 Congress created the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (usually referred to as the Freedmen’s Bureau ), to aid in the transition from slavery to freedom. The Freemen’s Bureau (FB) also fed millions of ex-slaves, provided medical care, built hospitals, and negotiated labor contracts and labor disputes. The FB also assisted ex-slaves to legalize marriages, and locate lost relatives, as well as helped Black veterans.

December 6th, 1865:
  • The 13th amendment was ratified by enough States and was added to the constitution. Juneteenth, at first, was only celebrated within the African American community, consisting of playing games eating various foods and dressing in their Sunday’s best clothing to symbolize that they no longer had to wear the clothing of slavery. 

  • Sometimes the white plantation owners would oppose the celebration by refusing to let their newly freed slaves use their property for the Juneteenth celebrations. In response, Juneteenth celebrations mostly took place at churches or on donated land. 

  • Eventually, in the 1890’s, sites like Emancipation Park in Houston, TX, and Booker T. Washington Park in Mexia, TX were established specifically for holding Juneteenth celebrations. During the early 1900s, interest in celebrating Juneteenth declined.

The Emancipation Proclamation:   
The Emancipation Proclamation was credited with ending slavery, and General Granger's role in freeing the Texas slaves 2 1/2 years after the proclamation.

The Great Depression (1930’s):
In the 1930s, the Great Depression forced many former slaves off the farms in the south and into the cities for jobs. Unless June 19th fell on a weekend, there were very few participants available to celebrate as they had to go to work. 

Civil Rights Movements (1950’s--1960’s):
Awareness for Juneteenth increased again during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. African Americans reconnected with this important historic part of their slave and ancestors’ heritage and used it to fuel their fight for equal rights

The People's March in Washington DC (1968):
The poor people's March in Washington DC in 1968 inspired many African Americans to begin celebrating Juneteenth again. Thus, during the next several years, African American state legislator, Al Edwards, helped to increase awareness of Juneteenth until it was finally declared an official State Holiday in Texas on January 1st, 1980 .

Today, Juneteenth is widely celebrated; it is a day for celebrating African American freedom and achievements. The Smithsonian, The Henry Ford Museum, The National Museum of African American History and Cultural, and many other institutions sponsor activities and celebrations for Juneteenth, hoping to educate more people about African American history and culture in general.

However, Juneteenth has also evolved into a more national symbolic celebration of respect and appreciation for people of all cultures.

There is a Bill introduced in Washington to make Juneteenth (June 19 th ) a National Holiday. This may be the year to get that passed. Stay tuned .
My book below, "DRIVEN TO SUCCEED:... " tells my story of racism, segregation, and discxrimination in the 1950's and Virginia's resistance to The Brown v. Board of Education Landmark Case (1954) that caused all of the schools in Prince Edward County, VA to close down in 1959 for five years. I was 11 years old in the 5th grade; therefore, my father sent me to Norfolk to stay with strangers to finish high school.

God intervened and helped me to overcome the obstacles and seemingly roadblocks. I share my inspiring and compelling story and lessons learned in spite of the challenges faced. These lessons are helping me during these challenging times: the pandemic and other observations of racism, mistreatment and heart-wrenching grief of our fellow brothers and sisters.

Dr. Hattie N. Washington

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Washington Publishing Enterprises