June 8, 2012

Elgin Juneteenth Celebration - 2012

Juneteenth is a celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. 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.

This year, Elgin's Juneteenth Celebration festivities include:
  • Miss Juneteenth Pageant- Thursday, June 7th, 6:30pm at Elgin High School.
  • Juneteenth Street Dance- Friday, June 8th, 7pm at Veterans' Memorial Park in Elgin.
  • Juneteenth Parade & Celebration- Saturday, June 9th, 10am in downtown Elgin. Parade begins at Booker T. Washington Elementary and continues to Main Street, followed by activities in Veterans' Memorial Park.

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