June 19, 2018 will be the 153rd anniversary of Juneteenth. This is the final celebration of Emancipation from the confederacy in Texas.  Abraham Lincoln, reluctantly issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. Slaves transmitted this information through the grapevine, abandoning plantations, seeking refuge with Union forces. Yet in Texas, slave holders being isolated from the east, kept this information from slaves and continued the demonstrative practices of slavery. This was purposely orchestrated, leaving slaves to think that they were still the property of the plantation owners for close to an additional year. Not until June 2nd 1863 during the last battle along the Rio Grande, did the Rebel commander finally surrender to union forces. I choose not to say the names of these people because I prefer their legacy to die just as much as the institution of slavery that was perpetuated upon my people.

June 18th 1863, Major General Gordon Granger took possession of Texas for the Union and on the 19th, this announcement was read on the balcony of the Ashton Villa to a crowd of Black people. This is the general order:

"The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation for 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 hire 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 they they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere."

Generally put, you are still a slave. Yet this announcement set off celebrations throughout Texas. The following years, former slaves commemorated the day with joyous celebrations. Traditions were observed in Black communities, such as, outdoor gatherings, parades, festivals, poetry recitation and concerts. Unfortunately white supremacy mutated like never before. With the rise of the Klu Klux Klan, Black Codes, chain gains and other systemic practices, the traditional celebrations dwindled. 

Today, I announce, we are back and in an effort to promote consciousness, tradition and legacy, Darlington, SC will be holding it's own Juneteenth Celebration, teaching the youth the practices of old. There will be bouncing stations, games, great food to eat, music and most importantly, fellowship. So please join if you are in the area, otherwise find a local Juneteenth Celebration where you live.  

Dearest Diaries


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Sunday, 17 October 2021

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