President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on 1 January 1863. From that point, all enslaved people in Confederate states were designated legally freed.
Texas didn't get the message. Rather, Texas refused to comply. For an additional two and a half years, Texas continued to recognize slavery—in flagrant violation of the Emancipation Proclamation.
On 19 June 1865, U.S. Major General Gordon Granger led a Union Army into Galveston, Texas, to enforce the President's order—two months after Lincoln's assassination. Granger's action ended slavery within the Confederate states. Slavery in other (non-Confederate) states would be abolished later the same year, with the final ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment (on 6 December).
"Juneteenth" is a portmanteau of two words: "June" and "Nineteenth." The date has been celebrated since the first anniversary of Granger's original proclamation. For decades, Juneteenth was celebrated mostly within African-American communities—and was unknown to the majority of White Americans. It became a federal holiday in 2021, signed into law by President Joe Biden. It is a date-specific holiday, meaning that it is always observed on 19 June. It also falls within the fourteen day period known as the "Honor America Days"—from Flag Day (14 June) until Independence Day (4 July).
The handsome drypoint & aquatint print, shown above, illustrates a historic building in Galveston, Texas, called the Trueheart-Adriance Building. It was built in 1882, some 17 years after the first Juneteenth. The etching was made by artist Richard Haas (born 1936) in 1972. It was part of a Galveston series created by the artist and printed in New York City. This print is numbered 1/30. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has a copy as does the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Brooklyn Museum in New York. It is a handsome etching by an artist who is known for his architectural draughtsmanship and his detailed trompe-l'œil murals, painted upon real buildings. Click on the photo above to learn more about this handsome piece.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248