Gordon Granger issued the above order, he had no idea that, in establishing the Union Army’s authority over the people of Texas, he was also establishing the basis for a holiday, “Juneteenth” (“June” plus “nineteenth”), today the most popular annual celebration of emancipation from slavery in the United States.
Even in Galveston city, the ex-Confederate mayor flouted the Army by forcing the freed people back to work, as historian Elizabeth Hayes Turner details in her comprehensive essay, “Juneteenth: Emancipation and Memory,” in Lone Star Pasts: Memory and History in Texas.
Ferguson: Who Was Plessy?, the Supreme Court’s gift to the 20th anniversary of emancipation was striking down the Civil Rights Act of 1875.) W.E.B.
When it became clear that the Poor People’s March was falling short of its goals, the organizers decided to cut it short on June 19, 1968, well aware that it was now just over a century since the first Juneteenth celebration in Texas.
1 (the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation), but glad nevertheless that the country is still finding ways to remember “the causes, the incidents, and the results of the late rebellion.” I grew up in West Virginia, many miles from the site of the first Juneteenth, and I never heard of the holiday until I went off to college.