A Message From Deputy Mayor Moore

Leadership Messages

Dear Fellow Residents,

As we approach June 19th, we recognize and celebrate Juneteenth – a significant day in American history that symbolizes freedom and the end of slavery in the United States.

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, commemorates the moment on June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of the Civil War and the freedom of all enslaved people. This announcement came two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, highlighting the prolonged struggle for freedom.

The reality is that the Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect on January 1, 1863, did not instantly free all enslaved people. It applied specifically to those areas in rebellion against the United States, under Confederate control, and did not apply to slave-holding border states that were not in rebellion or to specific regions within the Confederacy that were already under Union control. The proclamation declared that all enslaved people in these rebelling states “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free,” but in practice, it could not be enforced in those areas until they were captured by Union forces.

At the time, Texas was a border state and was not part of the Confederacy. There was no significant fighting there and slavery continued in the state during our country’s Civil War. When General Lee surrendered to General Grant at the Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, the war ended and prompted Union troops to head to Texas to ensure the freedom of roughly 250,000 enslaved people. As Union troops arrived in Galveston with the news of freedom, celebrations broke out and Juneteenth was born.

The year following 1865, freedmen in Texas organized the first of what became the annual celebration of “Jubilee Day” on June 19. In the ensuing decades, Juneteenth commemorations featured music, barbecues, prayer services and other activities, as black people migrated from Texas to other parts of the country to spread the tradition. In 1979, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday; several others followed suit over the years and in June of 2021, Congress passed a resolution establishing Juneteenth as a national holiday.

The history of Juneteenth is a testament to the resilience and strength of African Americans who endured the hardships of slavery and fought tirelessly for their freedom and rights. This year, as we celebrate Juneteenth, let us come together to honor the legacy of those who suffered under slavery and to those who have fought and continue to fight for equality.

On behalf of Mayor Manzo, Committeewoman Michelle Powell, Committeemen Jeff Jacques, and Kevin French, I extend my heartfelt wishes for a joyous and reflective Juneteenth.

Together for Harrison Township
Lawrence Moore
Your Deputy Mayor

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