Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Have fun but also remember events of past

By the Advocate Editorial Board
June 12, 2013 at 1:12 a.m.

History is the collective story of both good and bad. It is important that we understand the failings of our past in order to avoid repeating the same mistake, but we also need to celebrate the moments when we let go of our mistakes and took a step in the right direction.

Juneteenth is a good illustration of this point. This celebration commemorates the June 19, 1865, arrival of Union soldiers, led by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, in Galveston with the news that all slaves were now free, according to This news came a full 21/2 years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation took effect Jan. 1, 1863.

Historians have a few theories why the news took so long to reach Texas, but whatever the reason, word spread, and as years passed, the celebration became known as Juneteenth.

This celebration is an important observance of America's history. It marks the day when an entire group of people who were once officially recognized as more than property for other men to buy and sell. Yes, it is true the problems and discrimination did not stop there, but this was the beginning of significant change for people in our state and country.

Sandra Avery, founder and president of the Old Landmark Committee, said this year's celebration will take place in the Riverside Park Special Events Area on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. This year's observance will be a multicultural food festival. Booths are free to set up, but anyone wishing to serve food should contact Avery to tell her what will be served. Donations will be accepted.

The event is free and open to the public, Avery said. There will also be games, including a watermelon seed spitting contest hosted by H-E-B; face painting; music provided by Cuero's DJ Slick Willie and other artists and more.

We encourage members of the community to come out to this unique, multicultural celebration. This is a great chance to take a day to bring a lawn chair, enjoy or try some food from different cultures and just relax in the park. But more than that, this celebration is a fun way to honor that moment when an entire group of people learned they were no longer another man's possession. Come out and celebrate the spread of freedom, a thing every American should value.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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