Tuesday, June 18, 2024

HISTORIC BLACK VEGAS | Juneteenth Reflections

July 8, 2022 by  
Filed under Highlights

Claytee D. White

Juneteenth Reflections


Food for thought: Maybe Texas was last only because other federal troops traveled faster than General Granger.

Now that the Juneteenth 2022 celebrations are over for 2022, let’s reflect by looking at some pivotal dates and then let us declare Juneteenth as “the” official day of liberation for all American Blacks.

Civil War began: April 12, 1861 | Emancipation Proclamation: January 1, 1863

Hold onto you hats: Slavery was not abolished by this executive order. This proclamation applied only to enslaved people in areas still in rebellion; not those occupied by the Union. And it left slavery untouched in the border states of Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, and Missouri. Furthermore, the Emancipation Proclamation worked like this: as soon as an enslaved person escaped the control of his or her owner, either by running away across Union lines or through the advance of federal troops, the person was permanently free. What? An enslaved person still had to run away? YES.

However, there is a silver lining: the Emancipation Proclamation allowed for the recruitment of the formerly enslaved into the paid service of the Union/U.S. armed forces. Why? Who actually won the war for the union?

Let’s continue with the dates leading up to Galveston, Texas. The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865. On that date, Lee surrendered to General Grant and federal soldiers made their way throughout the confederate states announcing the emancipation of the enslaved. General Gordon Granger did not arrive in Galveston, Texas until June 18. The following morning, he read Order No. 3 at numerous locations throughout the city, announcing Black freedom. We have no idea when all the other cities throughout the South were notified.

Finally, we all should remember that it was the Thirteenth Amendment, ratified on December 6, 1865, that officially declared slavery illegal!

Las Vegas is sometimes still referred to as the Mississippi of the West, but Mississippi did not officially ratify the 13th Amendment until 2013 — 148 years later! Maybe Las Vegas is not the Mississippi of the West after all.

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