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June 19, 2021 3 min read

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” — Desmond Tutu.

Today, we’re ever proud to be from Texas and celebrate the legacy it holds in ratifying the early markings of equality for our African-American brothers and sisters at a large-scale.

We commemorate that afternoon in 1865 in Galveston, Texas when US Major General Gordon Granger and a group of black soldiers in blue uniforms came to issue General Order No. 3, which informed the people of Texas that all enslaved people were now FREE—a full two and half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. A message that brought freedom to 250,000 enslaved people.

As a community that reverently celebrates the different paths, backgrounds and stories that enrich the world we live in, we are thrilled that a day that has been an official Texas state holiday and celebration since 1979, Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, Liberation Day, Emancipation Day is now an official national holiday.

We dedicate today to our friends in the African-American community, celebrate, and remember the heroes who have ever so fervently stood up for what’s right.

 

Ms Opal Lee | Juneteenth | Fort Worth, Texas

92 year old Ms. Opal Lee was 89 years old when she started her mission to walk from her home in Fort Worth, Texas to the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. Her objective was simply to get June 19, recognized as a national holiday. It didn't take long for the news about her walk to spread all over the country making her name synonymous with the fight to nationalize Juneteenth.

 

“It's not a Black thing. It's not a white thing. It's just the right thing."Ms. Opal Lee

 

Henry Brooks | Work-weathered hands | Green-County Georgia | Getty Images

The work-weathered hands of Henry Brooks, a former slave in Green County Georgia circa 1941. c/o Getty Images.

 

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman, circa 1800s.

Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people, including family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. She was the first woman to lead a combat assault. 

She recommended slave escape on Saturdays, as owners used Sundays as a day of rest and would not notice slaves missing until Monday, giving the slave a two day head start. She also preferred to move during winter, when the days are shorter. Estimates of slaves she helped range as high as 3,000.

 

“God’s time is always near. He set the North Star in the heavens; He gave me the strength in my limbs; He meant I should be free.”Harriet Tubman

 

Buyenlarge | Getty Images | Free African Americans that joined the US Armed Forces

The issues of emancipation and military service were intertwined from the onset of the Civil War. News from Fort Sumter set off a rush by free black men to enlist in U.S. military units.

Image c/o Buyenlarge, Getty Images.

 

Buyenlarge | Getty Images | Minerva & Edgar Bendy former slaves in Texas. 

Image c/o Buyenlarge, Getty Images.

Minerva and Edgar Bendy who were formerly slaved in Woodville, Texas circa 1937.

 

 Bettman Archive | Getty Images | A group of formerly enslaved African-Americans

Image c/o Bettman Archive, Getty Images.

A group of formerly enslave African-Americans at a county almshouse, circa 1900.

 

 “Won’t it be wonderful when Black history and Native American history and Jewish history and all of U.S. history is taught from one book. Just U.S. history.” — Maya Angelou

 

Martin Luther King Jr. giving a speech circa 1960's.

MLK giving a speech. 

Image courtesy of Time Magazine.

 

 “If the cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. Because the goal of America is freedom, abused and scorned tho' we may be, our destiny is tied up with America's destiny.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Reginald C. Adams, "Absolute Equality" mural in Galveston, Texas.

 Houston-based public artist Reginald C. Adams "Absolute Equality" mural unveiled this weekend in downtown Galveston, Texas — in the precise location where General Order 3. was delivered 156 years ago in 1865.


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