Juneteenth

At its core Juneteenth is the celebration of the ending of chattel slavery in the United States. On June 19th 1865, two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.  In confederate states, slave owners ignored Lincoln due to what they called “military necessity.” Many slavers moved enslaved to Texas, with the lack of union soldiers and influence they sought to reestablish plantations away from the union. As many as 50,000 where already enslaved in Texas, and three times that where moved after the proclamation. There were many reasons as to why it took so long for Texas to be free. The murder of messengers, the maintenance of a free labor force and intentional delayed action so slavers could reap one last harvest. However, as news reached the enslaved many just walked off plantations, many began their own revolts, and many sought out the union army to join or seek refuge. It’s said there was more bloodshed in Texas after the war than during, because Texans didn’t want to let go of slavery, so they hunted, murdered and beat any who tried to get to freedom. With the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the provisional government set up by General Granger, the forces were finally strong enough to enforce the mandate of Freedom.

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