Texas history has long forgotten Juneteenth Day, the traditional day for the end of slavery in Texas.
On June 19, 1865, Union Army General Gordon Granger stood on a balcony of Ashton Villa in Galveston, to read General Order No. 3 that proclaimed the emancipation of all black slaves, as his 2,000 union troops occupied Texas for the federal government.
There was rejoicing, singing, and dancing in the streets by all the freed slaves, that numbered over 1,000 in the Houston and Galveston area in the 1860 census.
This celebration would soon turn into an annual event in Texas that included family reunions eating traditional southern meals of beef, pork, and chicken that was downed with red strawberry soda (probably symbolizing the red wine that was originally drank on the first celebration), as well as rodeos, street fairs, baseball games, and beauty pageants.
Public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation were also conducted in the city parks, as well as singing traditional southern religious songs.
On Tuesday, June 19th, we should all make the time to celebrate and remember Black history and heritage, just like they did in Galveston, 153 years ago. Happy Juneteenth Day.
Jack Ayoub, Harlingen