Juneteenth

McDowell.Family-022

My Great-Great Grandmother, Angeline Poston (sitting), My Great Grandma McDowell on the left

My Great-Great Grandmother Poston was a slave until she was 12 years old. What a treat it was to hear stories from the lips of my Great Grandmother who grew up in Gaffney, South Carolina.

Though Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, with an effective date of January 1, 1863, it had minimal immediate effect on most slaves’ day-to-day lives, particularly in the Confederate States of America.Texas, as a part of the Confederacy, was resistant to the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth commemorates June 18 and 19, 1865. June 18 is the day Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves.

Juneteenth is one of the oldest celebrations commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States and has been an African-American tradition since the late 19th century. Juneteenth celebrations include a wide range of festivities to celebrate American heritage, such as parades, rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, or park parties. Many African-American families use this opportunity to retrace their ancestry to the ancestors who were held in bondage for centuries.

It’s not a big day on my calendar, but it’s a big day in my heart to remember those who suffered in bondage, and reflect back on my family history.

(Courtesy of Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juneteenth)

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