Juneteenth recognize the day, June 19, 1865 when enslaved African-Americans in Texas first got word that they had been freed. On September 22, 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Proclamation which took over two years before generals landed on Galveston Bay to render the news. 146 years ago this year, marks the day that Union General Gordon Granger and about 2,000 federal troops (some black union soldiers from the north), to ensure that the freeing of the enslaved Africans on plantations in America’s South.
Many of the formerly enslaved persons migrated from the plantations on along the Brazos River to Houston. Once they reached Houston, they wasted little time coming together and getting organized. A historic neighborhood called, “Freedman’s Town” was erected and was where Blacks from Houston lived. Freedman’s Town, named to describe them being “Free Men,” was located in an areas of Houston designated as the “Fourth ward.”
As the freed Blacks began to build their own community and establish churches, businesses and school, they decided they should began to recognize the day they were freed. The legendary Reverend Jack Yates and other community leaders then decided that they should start a celebration for all the freed Africans and do it on Juneteenth. They needed a space. During that time, blacks did not receive any resources from the government and would not receive equal access until the ’60s and the passage of the Civil Rights Act. This meant that the Freedmen would have to provide for their own space if they wanted to hold a large gathering, as they were not allowed to use any public space or park to convene a celebration.
In light of needed an appropriate space, Yates and the other leaders from his church pooled together and raised enough money ($800) to purchase 10 acres of land for a park named Emancipation Park. Blacks came from near and far to gather, eat watermelon, barbeque and drink “red soda pop.” Emancipation is still the local site for a week long celebration in Houston’s Third Ward, today. In fact, Juneteenth celebrations happen in black communities across America with Milwaukee and Minneapolis reportedly as the two largest community events.
Happy Juneteenth 2011Posted 2 years ago with 21 notes
Tagged as: Juneteenth
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