Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Near instantaneous broadcast of the latest news around the globe is the standard that we're not only used to; we expect it. What's the latest in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? We can find out in seconds. What about al-Qaeda? Click and you shall know. But it wasn't always like that.

Imagine a time when it might have taken news two and a half years for news to travel from Washington, DC, to Galveston, Texas. Imagine that period was January 1, 1863 to June 19, 1865.

That's how long it took between the official effective date of the Emancipation Proclamation and the news of it actually freeing the slaves of Texas. June 19, 1865, was when Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army entered Galveston, and read the proclamation.

Of course, much partying ensued among the newly freed, and June 19 came to be celebrated locally each year as a day of freedom, and came to be known as "Juneteenth." As the descendants of the Texas slaves migrated across the country, the tradition of Juneteenth also spread.

Today, of course, is Juneteenth. I hope you celebrate, and think about freedom, and the history and struggles to achieve it.

Learn More:
Juneteenth - A history
Juneteenth - "official site"

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