Male Nude Bronze Sculpture by Luke William (LEO Design)

Although The Emancipation Proclamation was passed on 22 September 1862, and it was supposed to be effective—nation-wide—on 1 January 1863, Texas had other ideas.  It seems a contingent of anti-government Texas zealots refused to observe the new American law—something about Federal Oppression and States Rights.  So, Texans never informed their slaves that they had been freed.

Some two-and-a-half years later, on this day in 1865, General Gordon Granger and 2,000 Federal troops arrived at Galveston Island to enforce the law.  Granger read, from the balcony of Ashton Villa:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.  This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

Former slaves rejoiced and began commemorating the date’s anniversary the next year. The name “Juneteenth” is a portmanteau (a hybrid) of the words “June” and “Nineteenth.” Today, Juneteenth is recognized in 41 states and celebrated across the country.  Picnics, readings, parades, and family/community gatherings are held to signify the day that the Emancipation Proclamation finally took effect in Texas—even if it was two-and-a-half years late.


LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).

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