If you don’t know what Juneteenth is, it’s the day that word of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached Texas. Slaves in texas had actually been “free” for several months before they found this out.

From the Texas State Library:

Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, is the name given to emancipation day by African-Americans in Texas. On that day in 1865 Union Major General Gordon Granger read General Order #3 to the people of Galveston. General Order #3 stated “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. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages.

Of course, things didn’t immediately resolve themselves on Emancipation Day. They still aren’t resolved. We have a long way to go.

But as someone who was bused to Booker T. Washington Jr. High School, I want to pause today to celebrate that we have made progress. And to recognize that change is possible.

Racialious had an interesting post last week, where they pointed out that history has an interesting sense of timing:

August 28, 1955 – Emmitt Till is murdered in Mississippi
August 28, 1963 – Martin Luther King gives his “I Have A Dream Speech”
August 28, 2008 – Barack Obama accepts his nomination officially at the DNC

That’s just amazing.

And WE did it. And WE–all of us–must keep pushing for the “absolute equality of personal rights” promised almost 150 years ago.

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. with all the hate and greed in the world, i think its a pipe dream. somebody needs to trash this little science experiment we are a part of and start again…

  2. Dude. You’re harshing my mellow.

  3. Well, I for one thank you for this reminder on a sciencey blog. Its all too easy to forget about the struggle others have had being a lower-middle class white american male such as myself. Even though I grew up in a family and environ where race was never an issue, I have traveled the country enough as an adult to know we are FAR from equality. I’ve never been more excited and filled with energy about an election before.

  4. I thank you, too. A good reminder and one of hope. And speaking of race — and science — George Washington Carver. Thankfully he triumphed over attitudes of his time.

    Great post, Bug Girl!

  5. We’ve made a lot of progress, and there’s a lot more to be made, and we could all stand to be reminded of both from time to time. Thank you.

  6. “must keep pushing for the “absolute equality of personal rights””,
    and, the necessary corollary that is most often forgotten by apologists:
    “the absolute equality of personal responsibility.”

  7. BTW, I set up a nice book display at our branch library for Juneteenth and my boss said (and I am NOT making this up: “Oh, those will never circulate since we never get those people around here.”

    WTF??!!! “those people”?!
    Shit, hey management, maybe it’s because “those people” can smell your racism a mile away….

  8. Dear Lord.
    Yep. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
    And it’s not like white people can learn from Juneteenth as well.
    *rolls eyes*

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