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Can’t Turn Around Now, We’ve Come This Far: The Story of Juneteenth, Texas & My Family…… By Jess Sims

I wanted to write a blog to celebrate Juneteenth, which is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas. As I began to think about my blog I received a text message from my niece who is a writer and social media influencer, she had written and published a beautiful article for Juneteenth honoring the elders in my family. I decided that her article was so beautiful that I simply share it.  The photo is my mother’s family with Mom standing in the front. Enjoy.

 

Juneteenth has always been special to my family; we’re from Texas. In fact, like most Black people, my origins are in the south. It was the Great Migration (a movement that saw over seven million Black people move from the rural South to other parts of the U.S.) that brought my immediate family to California. But the spirit of Juneteenth, and what it means, stayed with us.

Juneteenth is a holiday for many Black people, and doubly so in the state of Texas. It was on this day in 1865 that Major General Granger arrived in Texas to inform the Black slaves there that they had been freed from slavery by the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation two and a half years prior.

By the end of the 19th century, my family lived in a rural area, not far from Houston, where some of the largest Juneteenth celebrations took place in Emancipation Park. My maternal great-great-grandfather (lovingly referred to as just “papa”) was a farmer and probably a sharecropper, like most Black people in the rural south. Jim Crow-era laws made it nearly impossible for Black people to be upwardly-mobile in any meaningful way, so they did what they knew; which was agriculture. Sharecropping was laborious and materially unfair, many sharecroppers remained in a constant debt cycle, working every day just to survive. Juneteenth was one of the few days they took off the farm and for many years, thousands of Black Texans took part.

Written by Jess Sims

To read the full article click the link  https://www.sheknows.com/tags/juneteenth/

 

 

Delores Thompson

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