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Juneteenth. . . A Celebration of Freedom!

Juneteenth  -  This celebration of freedom from slavery is the oldest African-American holiday observed in the United States.

Juneteenth has come to symbolize for many African-Americans what the Fourth of July symbolizes for all Americans. . . Freedom.

Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863.

The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger's regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom.

Another, is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still another, is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All or none of them could be true. For whatever the reason, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.

Observances of a Juneteenth holiday have been growing in recent years. National Public Radio (NPR) commentator Eric Copage thinks that African-Americans should look to the Jewish High Holy Days for an example of how Juneteenth could be celebrated. Click here to listen to the four minute NPR segment. (Requires RealPlayer)

Please join us in the campaign to commemorate Juneteenth on a U.S. Postal Stamp. Be a part of this historic endeavor.

For a listing of Juneteenth Celebrations in your state, click here.

Other sites that list Juneteenth information and celebrations:

www.123Greetings.com - Send someone you love a very special Juneteenth greeting card.

To order the following books, click on the book cover or the link.
Juneteenth Juneteenth - Ralph Ellison - "Juneteenth," the Senator said, closing his eyes, his bandaged head resting beneath his hands. Words of Emancipation didn't arrive until the middle of June, so they called it Juneteenth. Juneteenth draws on the full richness of America's black cultural heritage, from the dazzling range of vernacular sources in its language to the way its structure echoes the call-and-response pattern of the black church and the riffs and bass lines of jazz. It offers jubilant proof that whatever else it means to be a true American, it means to be "somehow black," as Ellison once wrote.
Juneteenth: Freedom Day - Muriel Miller Branch - Juneteenth is the grandfather of all holidays for Black Texans From its spontaneous beginning on June 19, 1865, as slaves in Galveston, Texas, reacted to the delayed news of the Emancipation Proclamation, the holiday has spread nationwide among Black Americans. It is small gatherings on Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, to immense crowds in Buffalo, New York. This ethnic holiday includes the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, retelling of legends about how it got its name, parades, parties, and family reunions. Join the author and photographer as they traveled to experience this celebration of freedom in various spots around the United States. For 8 to 12 year old readers. Juneteenth/Freedom Day
Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom - Charles A. Taylor - Learn why the Emancipation Proclamation did not free any slaves and other things not often taught in school. Great book for anyone interested in United States history. Very colorful.

Larry's Review: Rejoice everyone! In Dr. Taylor's beautiful book, he tells us the rest of the story; a chronological account of a painful period of African American history that needed to be told. Juneteenth; a day that celebrates freedom and a book I recommend everyone read.
Martin Luther King, Jr. - Marshall Frady - The veteran journalist and acclaimed biographer lends a first-hand perspective to this incisively written biography of Dr. King. This book reveals the human side of this humanitarian. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Skin We're In The Skin We're In: Teaching Our Children to Be Emotionally Strong, Socially Smart, Spiritually Connected - Janie Victoria Ward - A definitive guide to the moral, emotional and spiritual development of African-American teenagers that guides parents on how to instill values and teach strategies for resistance to negative social influences and complacency.

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