Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Celebration honors arrival of good news
By the Advocate Editorial Board
June 19, 2014 at 1:19 a.m.
The story of Juneteenth dates to the end of the Civil War. Even though the war ended in April 1865, the news took time to travel. The people of Galveston did not learn about the end of the war and the liberation of all the slaves until June 19, 1865.
Since that day, Juneteenth has become part of the story of Texas. Members of the African-American community have celebrated it every year, and the holiday has gradually gained more recognition from the rest of Texas' residents as well.
The news was brought to Galveston by Union officer Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, according to Juneteenth.com. With the news, he brought General Order 3: "The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a proclamation from the executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer." While this did not fix all of the problems in the South, it was the first of many steps on the road toward social equality for African-Americans.
Today, Juneteenth is celebrated across the state with a variety of traditions including parades, picnics, ceremonies and more. In Victoria, the day will be celebrated 9 a.m. Saturday with a Multicultural Taste of Soul in the Riverside Park Special Events Area. The event will focus on bringing together different cultures to celebrate all people while still remembering the origins of this day.
We encourage our readers to come out and take part in the Juneteenth celebration. There is no denying our history, but Juneteenth is a time to remember the past suffering and recognize how much African-Americans endured and overcome. It is also a time to focus on the future and how we can make it ever brighter for all Americans.
Juneteenth was the beginning of the end for one of America's darkest chapters. We can think of no better cause for a celebration.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.