What is Juneteenth and Why Is It Important?

This soon to be federal holiday is known by a variety of names. Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, or the country's second Independence Day, is one of the most significant dates in our country's history.

General Gordon Granger, a Union soldier, led a troop of men to Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, to convey a crucial message: the war was finally ended, the Union had won, and it now had the manpower to ensure the abolition of slavery.

Even though the news occurred two months after the Civil War ended and even longer after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, many enslaved Melanated people in Texas were still enslaved on that day.

It was 156 years ago this month. Here are some Juneteenth basics that everyone should be familiar with.

What Does Juneteenth Mean?

Juneteenth is derived from the words "June" and "nineteenth," which refers to the day when Gen. Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, with a message of liberation for the slaves there. When he arrived, he read General Order Number 3 to the people, notifying them that slavery would no longer be tolerated; all slaves had been freed and would now be treated as hired laborers if they decide to stay on the plantations.

"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer," the order reads, in part.

What They Don't Mention About Juneteenth

Jean Lafitte, a French pirate, formed the Slavery Empire on Galveston Island. Two brothers, Jewish traders Joa and Morin de la Porta, sponsored him. They were known as Karankawa Traders and Supercargoes for Lafitte, who grew extremely wealthy while descimating the Indian population, who were all labeled as "African" or "Negro" slaves for the expanding cotton trade.

The Europeans, Jao and Morin, were born to Jewish parents in Portugal and went on to become Jewish Texas Traders. In 1818, Jean Lafitte named Jao de la Porta as the Karankawa Indian Trade's supercargo (meaning these Indians were sold into Slavery).

To learn more about Melanated American Indian slavery and Paper Genocide purchase Atsila Yona book Discovering Genealogy. Click here to read the book free on Kindle.

In 1821, Lafitte fled Galveston Island to avoid capture by the United States Navy. He was accompanied by "his Mulatto Mistress and son." The Jewish Slave Trader went full-time. The Opatas; Karankawa were Coahuiltecans, Tonkawas, Wichitas, Wacos, and all other dark-skinned captives, were easily classifed as "African" on Pirate Jean Lafitte and the Portuguese-Jewish Traders on Galveston paperwork. This practice is known as Paper Genocide.

Karankawa Campsite Historical Marker

Slavery did not end on Juneteenth

Galveston was a territory that was home to a slave-trading empire that refused to give up its traditions and split away from Mexico after slavery was banned, insisting that all slaves be freed within six months of settlement. The Republic of Texas emerged from the secession.

General James Long wanted to free Texas from Spanish rule, so he created a slave-laundering partnership with a Gulf of Mexico pirate named Lafitte. Since 1808, the importing of slaves into the United States has been prohibited. Buying and selling slaves who were already in the country, on the other hand, was legal.

There were still roughly 250,000 slaves in Galveston when Gen. Granger arrived, and they were not all freed immediately or even shortly. Slave owners who refused to give up free labor were not uncommon. The slave owners refused to release their slaves unless they were forced to do so in person by a government representative. Some would wait until the last crop was complete before complying, while others would flat out refuse. For melanated people, it was a dangerous time, and some former slaves who were released or attempted to be free were attacked and killed. 

How Juneteenth is Celebrated Then and Now

Some former slaves and their descendants would travel to Galveston every Juneteenth after they were emancipated. The custom quickly expanded to other states, but it wasn't uncommon for white people to forbid black people from celebrating in public settings, prompting them to get inventive.

According to the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, community leaders in Houston – all of whom were former slaves – saved $1,000 to buy land in 1867 that would be dedicated particularly to Juneteenth celebrations. This land became known as Emancipation Park. 

Nonetheless, Melanated Americans found a way to keep celebrating and encouraging one another. In early Juneteenth celebrations generally included assisting newly freed melanated people learn about their voting rights. Rodeos, trail rides and horseback riding are both popular activities. Cookouts, parades, church services, musical performances, and other public events are now common Juneteenth celebrations.

In Conclusion

Juneteenth is what everyone should know about. Sadly, Juneteeth is now a federal holiday which probably means that it will be white washed like how pale people white washed Cinco De Mayo. Many Origines and other Melanated people fought hard for their freedom and to ensure the safety of their loved ones. People are overlooking the connection between Melanated slaved and Karankawa Indians "disappearance". The Karankawas didn't get wiped out, they got SOLD out.

As for Juneteeth celebrations there is a big difference in the traditions that were practiced then and now. Just imagine if melanated people saved large sums of money for land as a tradition. We would be able to buy our land back and then some. What are your thoughts on Juneteeth? Comment below.


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