Juneteenth: We are our own liberators! Giving Black troops their real due

By Former City Council Member Charles Barron | 6/26/2014, 10:14 a.m.
Neither Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation nor Gen. Gordon Granger’s reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to the enslaved Africans in Galveston, ...
Buffalo Soldiers in the Spanish-American War

“There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour,” Douglass further stated. “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.”

I stretched the Douglass quote because it is so powerful. Everyone should read it in its entirety.

We must never forget that Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad led us to freedom. Nat Turner’s insurrection was a bold revolt at securing our freedom. Gabriel Prosser’s and Denmark Vessey’s plans of insurrection were awesome. So as we celebrate Juneteenth, the truth must be told. Enslaved Africans in Galveston were not sitting around ignorant and docile for over two years waiting for Granger of the Union Army to come by on June 19, 1865, and read the Proclamation to them. This doesn’t make sense, especially because the Emancipation Proclamation never freed them.

Also, the enslaved Africans of Galveston were not the last Africans to be freed. Slavery existed in other states and territories after June 19, 1865. The 13th Amendment that abolished slavery, except as a punishment for a crime, was ratified in December of 1865 six months later. Most importantly, every Juneteenth celebration should tell the story of the heroism and blood spilled by our true liberators, the Black soldiers of the Civil War, not Abraham Lincoln.

Forward ever!