Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

June 15, 2014

Celebrating Juneteenth’s freedom

-- — “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 rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”

So began General Order Number 3, as read by Major Gen. Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865.

It was on that date that Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved were now free — two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which became official on Jan. 1, 1863.

The annual celebration of the events on June 19, 1865, is most commonly known as Juneteenth. It’s the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States and will be recognized in Valdosta this week.

The events are days of friendship, community, commemorating the past and celebrating freedom

“Juneteenth is a day of reflection, a day of renewal, a pride-filled day,” according to www.juneteenth.com. “It is a moment in time taken to appreciate the African-American experience. It is inclusive of all races, ethnicities and nationalities — as nothing is more comforting than the hand of a friend. ... On Juneteenth we come together, young and old, to listen, to learn and to refresh the drive to achieve. It is a day where we all take one step closer together to better utilize the energy wasted on racism. Juneteenth is a day that we pray for peace and liberty for all.”

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What We Think
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