Galveston took center stage on June 19, 1865, when General Gordan Granger arrived to announce that the war had ended and enslaved African Americans were now free. President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, an edict on paper only, that had inspired thousands with its promise of freedom to all enslaved people in the rebelling Confederate States. As a result, some 180,000 black men enlisted in the Union army, providing a crucial advantage to the war effort.
Juneteenth, was our country’s promise fulfilled that all people are created equal. As we celebrate Freedom Day, we are asked to reflect on these events and our country’s path to justice, equality, and inclusion. Where are we on that path and what can each of us do to move forward the principles and promise of our great nation.