Sunday, June 18, 2006


We just returned from San Jose's Juneteenth Festival downtown. We hadn't actually planned to attend - we didn't even realize it was happening - but just stumbled upon it. Live music, lots of food, and a great time.

Juneteenth, which is traditionally celebrated on the 19th of June (tomorrow), commemorates the end of slavery. You may be thinking, "But Ken, Didn't the Emancipation Proclamation take effect on January 1, 1863, and didn't Jefferson Davis surrender on May 10, 1865? So why June 19th?"

Good question, and here's the answer, courtesy of Wikipedia:
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived on Galveston Island to take possession of the state and enforce slaves' new freedoms. Standing on the balcony of Galveston's Ashton Villa, Granger read the contents of "General Order No. 3." ... Slaves in Galveston rejoiced in the streets with jubilant celebrations. Juneteenth celebrations began in Texas the following year.
While celebrated in Texas for over a century, in recent decades the practice has spread throughout the country.

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