Juneteenth Then and Now

Today is June 19, 2020. The date is also known as Juneteenth in the African American community. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln in September 1862. But it is celebrated in June.

But why on June 19th?

From Wikipedia: Juneteenth is an unofficial American holiday and an official Texas state holiday, celebrated annually on the 19th of June in the United States to commemorate Union army general Gordon Granger’s reading of federal orders in the city of Galveston, Texas, on 19 June 1865, proclaiming all slaves in Texas were now free. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed them almost two and a half years earlier, and the American Civil War had largely ended with the defeat of the Confederate States in April, Texas was the most remote of the slave states, with a low presence of Union troops, so enforcement of the proclamation had been slow and inconsistent.

The painting by Francis Bicknell Carpenter of the First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation is at the beginning of this article. The first page of the Proclamation is at the bottom.

From Wikipedia: The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862, and effective as of January 1, 1863. It changed the legal status under federal law of more than 3.5 million enslaved African Americans in the Confederate states from slave to free. As soon as a slave escaped the control of the Confederate government, either by running away across Union lines or through the advance of federal troops, the slave was permanently free. Ultimately, the Union victory brought the proclamation into effect in all of the former Confederacy. The remaining slaves, those in the areas not in revolt, were freed by state action, or by the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in December 1865.


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