Monday, June 19, 2017

Juneteenth

The Hidden History of Juneteenth tells a story that this week shows us we still need to hear: Juneteenth and what it really was.

Not just that white, rebel Texans hid the news of Emancipation.But that
Ending slavery was not simply a matter of issuing pronouncements. It was a matter of forcing rebels to obey the law. To a very real extent, the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment amounted to promissory notes of freedom. The real on-the-ground work of ending slavery and defending the rudiments of liberty was done by the freedpeople in collaboration with and often backed by the force of the US Army.

Granger’s proclamation may not have brought news of emancipation but it did carry this crucial promise of force. Within weeks, fifty thousand U.S. troops flooded into the state in a late-arriving occupation. These soldiers were needed because planters would not give up on slavery. In October 1865, months after the June orders, white Texans in some regions “still claim and control [slaves] as property, and in two or three instances recently bought and sold them,” according to one report. To sustain slavery, some planters systematically murdered rebellious African-Americans to try to frighten the rest into submission. A report by the Texas constitutional convention claimed that between 1865 and 1868, white Texans killed almost 400 black people; black Texans, the report claimed, killed 10 whites. Other planters hoped to hold onto slavery in one form or another until they could overturn the Emancipation Proclamation in court.

Against this resistance, the Army turned to force. In a largely forgotten or misunderstood occupation, the Army spread more than 40 outposts across Texas to teach rebels “the idea of law as an irresistible power to which all must bow.” Freedpeople, as Haywood’s quote reminds us, did not need the Army to teach them about freedom; they needed the Army to teach planters the futility of trying to sustain slavery.

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2 Comments:

At 4:49 PM, June 21, 2017 Anonymous Mark P had this to say...

I don't do much hating, but I have a deep and abiding hatred for the men who brought such hell down on the people of this country. And I save a little of that hatred for the spiritual descendants of those slave owners who seem to long for those days.

 
At 5:59 PM, June 21, 2017 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Amen.

 

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