Celebrating Black History Month

JSTOR Juneteenth

Continuing to honor Black History Month, we share The Story of Juneteenth. JSTOR editor, Lynn Brown, writes about the history of this celebration which began on January 1, 1863 in Galveston, Texas when President Lincoln passed the Emancipation Proclomation.  Unfortunately, the news spread slowly and people remained enslaved for another two-and-a-half years.

"Finally, on June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston to proclaim the freedom of all slaves in the Lone Star State."  Henry Louis Gates says: "In one of the most inspiring grassroots efforts of the post-Civil War period, they transformed June 19 from a day of unheeded military orders into their own annual rite, 'Juneteenth', beginning one year later in 1866." It became an official state holiday in Texas in 1980.

Brown continues to write that Galveston "...puts on one of the biggest celebrations to this day. ...the celebration culminates with a commemorative reading of the Emancipation Proclomation, followed by a prayer breakfast."

Click here to read more about the Juneteenth holiday that is celebrated every year in Texas.

More fascinating Black History Month stories to come from JSTOR Daily.