Juneteeth: A Celebration of Freedom

On June 19th, 1865 Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston Texas to announce the freedom of slaves. This announcement took place two and a half years after slaves were legally freed. President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863 but the news did not make it to Texas for over two years. The reason for this is unclear- some say the messenger was killed on his way to Texas, others say slave owners intentionally withheld the information from the slaves. Some even believe that the federal troops waited to tell the new so that the slave owners could benefit from one last cotton harvest. Regardless of why the information was withheld, it is imperative that we acknowledge the gross injustice of this two and a half year delay. In honor of the day Texan slaves were freed, African Americans across the United States celebrate Juneteenth.

Early celebrations of Juneteenth involved former slaves and their descendants traveling to Galveston every year to partake in festivities like fishing, barbecuing, and horseback riding. Similar celebrations take place today. In many cities, festivals are organized as a way to not only celebrate but to educate people of African American history and culture. These celebrations are seen as a way for African Americans to get connected with their roots. Here in Pittsburgh, there will be a large Juneteenth celebration at Point State Park June 29th-30th where there will be a parade, live entertainment, motivational speakers, games, vendors, and a BBQ competition. This Juneteenth Grounded urges everyone to educate themselves on African American history and to participate in the Juneteenth festivities happening during this time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.