June 19th is the date in 1865 that Union soldiers came to Galveston, Texas, letting enslaved people know that they had been freed in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. The emancipation of enslaved people was not immediately recognized in southern confederate states and Texas was the last to implement the Proclamation.
Juneteenth has been celebrated in some southern African American communities, especially Texas since the late 1800s. I am from Buffalo, New York where Juneteenth has been celebrated every year since 1976 on a weekend of the "teenth" (a Saturday and Sunday with the dates from the 13th to the 19th).
That Juneteenth is now a national holiday is especially meaningful to me because I now know the name of my 3rd great-grandmother -- Sylvia Adair Washington -- who I wrote about in a previous post. She was a part of an enslaved family unit that included Elijah, possibly my 3rd great grandfather and Elijah, my 2nd great grandfather -- all were born enslaved and lived to see freedom.
As I continue to search for my ancestors, I proudly call out their names. I know that I am their hopes, their dreams and the reason they kept moving forward. They are my DNA and I am their DNA. I stand on their shoulders. Ase!
Copyright © 2021 by Sandra Williams Bush, Ancestor Callings: Georgia and Mississippi Roots. All Rights Reserved.