By: FPJ Web Desk | June 19, 2023
Monday's Google Doodle celebrated America's Juneteenth. Here is all you need to know about the historic event.
On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and announced that enslaved people were now free. Since then, June 19 has been celebrated as Juneteenth across the nation.
The June 19 announcement came more than two-and-a-half years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Which means, enslaved people had already been emancipated- they just didn’t know it.
Strobridge Lith. Co.
There are many theories as to why the Emancipation Proclamation wasn’t enforced in Texas. But the real reason is probably that Lincoln’s proclamation simply wasn’t enforceable in the rebel states before the end of the Civil War.
What followed was known as “the scatter” when droves of former enslaved people left the state to find family members or more welcoming accommodations in northern regions.
According to historian James Smallwood, many enslavers deliberately suppressed the information until after the harvest, and some beyond that.
Despite the announcement, Texas enslavers weren’t too eager to part with what they felt was their property. When freed people tried to leave, many of them were beaten, lynched, or murdered.
Juneteenth flag by L.J. Graf is full of symbolism. The colors red, white, and blue echo the American flag to symbolize that the enslaved people and their descendants were Americans. The star in the middle pays homage to Texas, while the bursting “new star” on the “horizon” of the red and blue fields represents a new freedom and a new people.
Juneteeth is now a federal holiday. Texas deemed the holiday worthy of statewide recognition in 1980, becoming the first state to do so.