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Commemorating the 150 Year Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

Since June 19, 1865 we have celebrated the abolition of slavery in Texas.

On this day, Major General Gordon Granger carried out the enforcement of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which mandated that slaves be freed as the Union army brought Confederate territories under the control of the United States.

The nation divided over slavery in 1861, resulting in the Civil War. As the war concluded in 1865, with the surrender of General Robert E. Lee on April 9 and the declaration of the end of hostilities on May 9, the end of slavery in many Southern states was marked by the arrival of Union troops in Galveston, Texas and General Granger's June 19 reading of General Order Number 3 stating, "Slaves are free."

The date of Juneteenth is often considered controversial, since it took more than two years following the Emancipation Proclamation to free slaves in Southern states and over two months after General Lee's surrender to bring the news to Galveston, Texas. But its significance should not be taken lightly. The price of ending slavery was immeasurable. More than 600,000 lost their lives, including President Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated April 14, 1865. Over 400,000 were seriously wounded.

There was substantial turmoil in the days following the official conclusion of the Civil War, as shots continued to be fired. Confederate forces defeated Union troops at the Battle of Palmito Ranch in South Texas on May 13, 1865. Cherokee Brigadier General Stand Watie was the last Confederate General to surrender on June 23, 1865. Like slavery itself, the war was a scourge on all races.

Juneteenth celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation and is sometimes referred to as Freedom Day, since it freed 3.5 million slaves in Confederate states. The legal end to slavery in the United States came later that year, when the Thirteenth Amendment was adopted on December 6, 1865.

On June 19, 2013 we will commemorate the 150 year anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and celebrate the end of slavery. Originating in Galveston and Houston, Juneteenth is now recognized as a state holiday or official observance in more that 40 states and the District of Columbia.

But it is critical to understand that, while slavery was made illegal in the United States through the horrific events of the Civil War, it still exists in modern forms. 27 million people, including children, live in slavery conditions worldwide; 200,000 in the United

You can learn more about ending slavery at: www.enditmovement.com

Be sure to join us on June 19, 2013 at Miller Outdoor Theatre for Houston's Juneteenth Celebration. Help raise awareness of this important historic event in our nation's history - the immense effort to outlaw slavery that culminated on June 19, 1865 - and help advance the achievements of one of the world's most important human rights policy documents - The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.


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