Happy Juneteenth Day

Texas history has long forgotten Juneteenth Day (Emancipation Day or Freedom Day).

On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger, standing on the balcony of a Galveston hotel, proclaimed that the Civil War was over, and all the approximately 250,000 black slaves in Texas were now all free.

Generally, all the slaves in the south were now given their freedom.

Ex-slaves were now to be paid wages as hired laborers from their employers, the former slave masters, or they could seek employment in the north.

Over 1,000 slaves in the Galveston-Houston area immediately celebrated their freedom with dancing and singing.

Many of the former slaves took some of the finest clothes from their former slave masters and drank their red wine to rejoice in their new found freedom which is probably why blacks continue to celebrate this special day with red strawberry soda with their best clothes.

On the anniversary of Juneteenth Day, many blacks in the south would plan family reunions and have cookouts with traditional southern dishes.

Baseball games were organized, rodeos were planned, and beauty contests were conducted. Public readings and singing traditional songs were performed in public parks.

So to all my black friends and especially my next door neighbor, Happy Juneteenth Day …

Jack Ayoub