Free at last, thank God we are free at last!
By Don Valentine
This past Monday June 19th marked the generally acknowledged date for the proclamation abandoning slavery. This date is understood to be June 19th, 1865. That is a little over 2 years after President Lincoln signed the “Emancipation Proclamation.
Since we have the internet, lo these 154 years later, we would not have to have suffered 2 more years of vassalage for the proclamation to reach the last slave state. In the words of the “The Root” author Hillary Crossley, “Though President Abraham Lincoln ended slavery with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, slaves in Texas had no knowledge of their freedom until two and a half years later. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston and declared the end of the Civil War, with General Granger reading aloud a special decree that ordered the freeing of some 200,000 slaves in the state.”
Here is a little known fact to for your edification. As you people of color have experienced, decades later, the law of emancipation has yet to grant you total equality. In fact the very beginning of this new legal thread was very arduous for our for our predecessors
Historian Jim Downs, of Connecticut College, casts a shadow over one of the most celebrated narratives of American history. Downs shows in his book, Sick from Freedom, the reality of emancipation during the chaos of war and its bloody aftermath often fell brutally short of the benefactor facade the proclamation postured. . Instead, freed slaves were often neglected by Union soldiers or faced rampant disease, including horrific outbreaks of smallpox and cholera. Many of them simply starved to death.
Horrendous as the origin of freedom became for our people of color, we have kept our head held high. Should you notice, we have gone on to set an ample amount of milestones to cement our legacy in mankind? This God, willing, will be the forbearance of more milestones in the future.
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