Emancipation was only the beginning.
Via Wikipedia: “Though Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, with an effective date of January 1, 1863, it had minimal immediate effect on most slaves’ day-to-day lives, particularly in the Confederate States of America.
Texas, as a part of the Confederacy, was resistant to the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth commemorates June 18 and 19, 1865. June 18 is the day Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves.
On June 19, 1865, while standing on the balcony of Galveston’s Ashton Villa, Granger read the contents of “General Order No. 3”:
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 personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.
That day has since become known as Juneteenth, a name coming from a portmanteau of the word June and the suffix, “teenth”, as in “Nineteenth”, coined by 1903.
Former slaves in Galveston rejoiced in the streets with jubilant celebrations. Juneteenth celebrations began in Texas the following year. Across many parts of Texas, freed people pooled their funds to purchase land specifically for their communities and increasingly large Juneteenth gatherings – including Houston’s Emancipation Park, Mexia’s Booker T. Washington Park, and Emancipation Park in Austin.”
The Proclamation and the war’s end ushered in a Golden Age of Black Leadership in the Republican Party. Heretofore, blacks had been compelled to obey their masters, now they were free to follow leaders who proclaimed their freedom, liberty and citizenship. Men and women like Blanche K. Bruce, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Booker T. Washington paved the way for Civil Rights-era heroes like Martin Luther King, Jr. and James Meredith. They found a respect, appreciation and a welcoming home in the Republican Party.
Their efforts through the following decades led to a great flowering of black American leadership to the present day, with patriots and heroes like Allen West, Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Dr. Ben Carson, Herman Cain, JC Watts, Jennifer Carroll (former FL Lt. Gov.), Joseph C. Phillips (actor), Michael Steele, Michael Williams, and Star Parker.
The black revival continues even more strongly in younger members of the GOP. Across the United States, young black Republicans such as Amy Holmes (journalist), Ashley Bell (Fox Radio Host and former Commissioner Hall County, GA), Erika Harold (Running for IL Congress), Lawrence B. Jones III (former candidate Garland, TX ISD), Representative Mia Love (R – UT4), Robert Griffin III (QB Wash. Redskins), Scott Turner (TX Rep. HD33), Sen. Tim Scott (R – SC), T.W. Shannon (Oklahoma House of Representatives), Rep. James White, (Texas HD19), Stefani Carter (Texas Rep. HD102), and former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson are entering elected office and positions of significance and responsibility by the droves. They have found the Republican principles of independence, self-reliance, freedom, liberty, family values and fiscal responsibility to be the values most suited to long-term growth for their communities and the entire nation. They carry the torch that Douglass, Meredith and King passed on.
Each year we celebrate Juneteenth is an opportunity to always remember and never forget the work of all these champions of freedom, liberty and justice. The legacy of Lincoln lives on.