June 10, 2011

Juneteenth Parade in Elgin - 2011

Juneteenth is a celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. In honor of this special holiday, the City of Elgin is having a parade on Saturday, June 11th, from 10am-1pm. The parade will start at Booker T Washington Elementary School on MLK and make its way to Main Street. There will also be a variety of vendors, food booths, and arts and crafts. Bring the family, and celebrate Juneteenth, a day of freedom and emancipation.

"Juneteenth is a day of reflection, a day of renewal, a pride-filled day. It is a moment in time taken to appreciate the African American experience. It is inclusive of all races, ethnicities and nationalities - as nothing is more comforting than the hand of a friend."

A little history... when I began this post, I planned on only including the details of the parade (date, time, location, etc.), but then I started to wonder what Juneteenth is really about. So I did some research. Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22nd, 1862, with an effective date of January 1st, 1863. However, it wasn't until June 19th, 1865 that the slaves in Texas heard about their freedom. On June 18th, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas with 2,000 troops to enforce the emancipation of the slaves of Texas. On June 19th, Gen. Granger read "General Order No. 3" from the balcony of the Ashton Villa:

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 personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

That memorable day became known as Juneteenth, a combination of the words June and nineteenth. On June 13th, 1979, on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol in Austin, hundreds witnessed a bill being signed into law that made June 19th or "Juneteenth" an official state holiday. In 2000, the annual Washington Juneteenth National Holiday Observance and the campaign to establish Juneteenth Independence Day as a National Day of Observance was established. As of 2011, 39 states (including Texas) and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to officially recognize Juneteenth.

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