What is Juneteenth! Let’s break it down in song and dance!
SLAVES HAD ALREADY BEEN EMANCIPATED—THEY JUST DIDN’T KNOW IT.
On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and announced that slaves were now free. This announcement came 2 and a half years after the emancipation of proclamation was signed. Apparently Texas never got the text message or email or they did but they refused to tell the slaves the 411..
What followed was called “the scatter,” thats when the former slaves left the state to find family members or more welcoming accommodations in the northern regions.
A year after the announcement was made! The newly freed slaves wanted to party! but there were no public places or parks they were permitted to use. So, in the 1870s, former slaves put their money together totaling out to $800 and purchased 10 acres of land, which they deemed “Emancipation Park.” It was the only public park and swimming pool in the Houston area that was open to African Americans until the 1950s.
In southern states, the holiday is traditionally celebrated with oral histories and readings, “red soda water” or strawberry soda, and barbecues.