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Will another historic Black celebration, Juneteenth be whitewashed out of our history?

Bobby R. Henry, Sr.

Bobby R. Henry, Sr.

Will another historic Black celebration, Juneteenth be whitewashed out of our history?

19 Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth of the first month and camped at Gilgal on the eastern edge of Jericho. 20 Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. 21 He said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ 22 then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the Lord your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; 24 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, so that you may [d]fear the Lord your God forever.”    Joshua 4:19-24 (NASB)

By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.


On June 19, 1865, Gordon Granger, a Union General rode into Galveston, Tex. to let folk  know that the Civil War had ended two months earlier. Granger’s General Order Number 3 finally freed the last 250,000 slaves two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

June 19th—became known as “Juneteenth” amongst the peoples—and celebrated as the African-American National Independence Day, for, as Juneteenth celebrations remind us, that the Emancipation Proclamation was a forest concerning the liberation of African people in the United States, and the ideals of Independence Day pay no attention to the humiliating occurrence of slavery completely.

Although initially associated with Texas and other Southern states, the Civil Rights period and the Poor People’s March to Washington in 1968 lend a hand to broaden the practice beyond the borders of Texas and to raise the conscious of people all over.

Juneteenth was made an official holiday on Jan. 1, 1980 in the state of Texas, with government recognition. Texas is the only state granting full state holiday status to Juneteenth, a commemoration of African American freedom, a day when government employees have the day off.

Selective celebrations of Juneteenth have had exceptional beginnings or characteristics. In the state capital Juneteenth was first celebrated in 1867 under the direction of the Freed-men’s Bureau and became part of the calendar of public events by 1872.

The first broader celebrations of Juneteenth were used as political rallies and to teach freed African American about their voting rights.

Juneteenth declined in popularity in the early 1960s, when the civil-rights movement, with its push for integration, diminished interest in the event.

“Dear God please don’t allow us to let our children forget our history from our being brought to the shores of America in slave ships to one of the highest positions of citizenship. Let us constantly be reminded during worship that we are all connected through kinship.”—Bobby R. Henry, Sr.



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