SHAKO: The First Junteenth

June 19, 2020 at 9:53 pm Leave a comment

How the Jubilee Came to Be.

It’s June 19, or Juneteenth, – the holiday marking the last gasp of legal slavery in the United States. What started out as a holiday in Texas has been gaining recognition and popularity — especially in this very troubled time of police shootings, protest marches and the still evolving reckoning about the place of race in American history.

At 4GWAR, we thought we’d take a look at the events that led to the Juneteenth tradition in the waning days of the Civil War — harking back to a posting we created in 2015 to mark the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth

juneteenth2

Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865 did not end the Civil War. There were still two active rebel armies, one in North Carolina commanded by Joseph Johnston and another in the West commanded by Edmund Kirby Smith. Johnston  surrendered in North Carolina n April 26 and Kirby Smith surrendered on May 26 in Texas.

62 and 65 colored inf memorial-monument-2

Statue honoring the 62nd and 65th U.S. Colored Infantry regiments at Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Missouri. The 62nd USCI fought at Palmito Ranch.

The last battle of the Civil War was fought at Palmito Ranch on the Rio Grande in Texas on May 12-13. By the way, the Confederates won that battle.

But that still didn’t end slavery in Texas, the seventh of 11 states to secede from the Union. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865 when U.S. Major General Gordon Granger sailed across Galveston Bay with 1,800 Union troops and announced his General Order No. 3, that slavery was abolished in the farthest reaches of the Southwest.

It informed the people of Texas, that “in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States (President Lincoln), 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.”

Until then, the estimated 250,000 slaves in Texas did not know that Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had freed them — and all the other slaves in states in open rebellion against Washington, as of January 1863. It’s important to note that the Emancipation Proclamation couldn’t be enforced until Union troops gained control of each state that had left the Union. The last major Union thrust west of the Mississippi River from Louisiana had ended in failure in May 1864.

The date, June 19th — or Juneteenth — has grown into a significant holiday for African-Americans to celebrate freedom and it may in future years become  national celebration of freedom,

Entry filed under: Army, SHAKO, Traditions. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

FRIDAY FOTO (June 19, 2020) FRIDAY FOTO (June 26, 2020)

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