Saturday, June 19, 2010

Texas Tidbits : Juneteenth

Juneteenth, ( a combination of the words "June" and "nineteenth"...go figger) is a day that celebrates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger read "General Order, No.3" at the Ashton Villa in Galveston stating that slavery was now illegal and slaves were to be treated as freedmen. That's something that I did not know. Juneteenth began in Texas. I used to know many black folks (I REFUSE to use "- American"...either you are American or you ain't) who had large family gatherings on Juneteenth to celebrate the emancipation of their ancestors. Please note that when many of us were kids in the '60s, historically speaking, 1865 was not that long ago to many black people. Older black people at that time had heard stories from their grand parents about the Civil War, slavery and such, so Juneteenth was a big deal to them. Rightfully so. Today I'd love to be at Grandma Brown's place outside Tyler, having a huge feast with my buddy Ira Isaih Brown, Jr, his sons and the rest of the Brown Family celebrating Juneteeth and being grateful for the end of that most inhumane of institutions. Hey, Ira ! Eat, drink, puff puff and pass it to the left, then eat some more! And please tell Grandma "the white kid" said hello.

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