See section 3 on proclamation.
Juneteenth in Moores Addition, Dickinson, Texas
Juneteenth in Moore’s Addition
My Uncle Sole made an instrument by tying up string to a broom and rubbing it across the ground or floor. We would dance to guitar music by Willie Fraiser and Base Guitar music and fiddlers. When night fell, the elders would stuff their empty brown beer bottles with cloth soaked in kerosene and light the cloth, this provided much light. We also had coal oil lamps.
Ruby Hill Wright
The people in the community were close-knit families who helped one another. There was an old lady by the name of Annie Harris, who delivered babies for the black women in town. When families needed food or clothing, the community would give a “pound party” and collect goods that were shared among the poor.
Recollections Mrs. Lois Height
What is Juneteenth?
On June 19 (“Juneteenth”), 1865, Union General Gordon Granger read the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, thus belatedly bringing about the freeing of 250,000 slaves in Texas. The tidings of freedom reached slaves gradually as individual plantation owners read the proclamation to their bondsmen over the months following the end of the war. The first broader celebrations of Juneteenth were used as political rallies and to teach freed African Americans about their voting rights. Within a short time, however, Juneteenth was marked by festivities throughout the state, some of which were organized by official Juneteenth committees.
The day has been celebrated through formal thanksgiving ceremonies at which the hymn “Lift Every Voice” furnished the opening. In addition, public entertainment, picnics and family reunions have often featured dramatic readings, pageants, parades, barbecues and ball games. Blues festivals have also shaped the Juneteenth remembrance.
Juneteenth declined in popularity in the early 1960s, when the Civil Rights Movement, with its push for integration, diminished interest in the event. In the 1970s, African Americans’ renewed interest in celebrating their cultural heritage led to the revitalization of the holiday throughout the state. At the end of the decade, Representative Al Edwards, a Democrat from Houston, introduced a bill calling for Juneteenth to become a state holiday. The legislature passed the act in 1979, and Governor William P. Clements, Jr., signed it into law. The first state-sponsored Juneteenth celebration took place in 1980.