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Commemorating the end of legal slavery for black Americans with Juneteenth

Juneteenth, now a federal holiday, commemorating the end of legal slavery for black Americans, took place Saturday in Galveston, Texas, the Gulf Coast city where Juneteenth is from.

Historians say that on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, Union Major General Gordon Granger and his men informed enslaved Americans that they were freed from slavery after the signing of the Proclamation of emancipation by President Abraham Lincoln more than two years earlier, on January 1. , 1863.

At Saturday’s event at the Ashton Villa, the former Confederate Army headquarters in Galveston, speakers praised the efforts of former state Rep. Al Edwards, a Houston lawmaker who helped to make Juneteenth a statewide holiday in 1980.

Douglas Matthews, event emcee and Galveston Juneteenth Celebration coordinator, offered a bit of history in his opening remarks.

“Freedom is a word dear to all mankind – especially to those in bondage. On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued his promised Emancipation Proclamation. But it took 30 months for the proclamation to of President Lincoln’s emancipation and its enforcement reach south Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas with 2,000 soldiers on June 18, 1865 – two and a half years later – to announce and enforce the liberation black slaves. And that was the birth of Juneteenth,” Matthews said.

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Alana Holloway Edwards, daughter of the late State Representative Edwards and school principal, said promoting her father’s legacy was based on education and awareness of Juneteenth.

“My father, the late and former State Rep. Al Edwards, was primarily focused on making June 19 not just a holiday, but a national holiday, and raising awareness that the Union Army General Gordon Granger came to Galveston to free the 250,000 slaves who remained in Texas even two years after the Emancipation Proclamation,” Holloway Edwards said. “And so today we celebrate here at Ashton Villa because this day matters and everyone deserves to know the truth about the story that unfolded right here in Galveston Texas.”

In June 2021, the United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed and sent President Joe Biden a bill making June 19, or “Juneteenth,” a federal holiday. Biden signed the bill on June 17, 2021.

(with agency contributions)

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Post expires at 10:47am on Wednesday June 29th, 2022