I was a boy growing up in Sweetwater, Texas, I remember "Juneteenth" as a very big day of celebration for the African Americans in our town. And it still is a very big day of celebration for African Americans because Juneteenth is celebrated as Black Independence Day.
Over the years, the tradition of celebrating June 19 as a day of freedom traveled with African Americans who moved from Texas to Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma - then eventually to such states as Alabama, Florida, and California. The celebration was a great deal like the Fourth of July with picnics, games, reading of Emancipation Proclamation, inspirational speeches, stories from former slaves, rodeos, dances, and prayer services.
Juneteenth celebrates the freedom of over 250,000 slaves at the close of the Civil War. It was based on events that took place in Texas and takes its name from June 19, 1865, which is the day federal troops arrived in Galveston to enforce Emancipation Proclamation though President Lincoln had issued the proclamation on January 1, 1863, it freed few slaves.
Submitted by State Senator (ret) Jack Scott.