Tag Archives: Texas

JUNETEENTH is coming – make your plans !!!


© JUNETEENTH.com

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another, is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still another, is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All of which, or neither of these version could be true. Certainly, for some, President Lincoln’s authority over the rebellious states was in question For whatever the reasons, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.

General Order Number 3

One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”

The reactions to this profound news ranged from pure shock to immediate jubilation. While many lingered to learn of this new employer to employee relationship, many left before these offers were completely off the lips of their former ‘masters’ – attesting to the varying conditions on the plantations and the realization of freedom. Even with nowhere to go, many felt that leaving the plantation would be their first grasp of freedom. North was a logical destination and for many it represented true freedom, while the desire to reach family members in neighboring states drove the some into Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Settling into these new areas as free men and women brought on new realities and the challenges of establishing a heretofore non-existent status for black people in America. Recounting the memories of that great day in June of 1865 and its festivities would serve as motivation as well as a release from the growing pressures encountered in their new territory. The celebration of June 19th was coined “Juneteenth” and grew with more participation from descendants. The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date.

Juneteenth Festivities and Food

A range of activities were provided to entertain the masses, many of which continue in tradition today. Rodeos, fishing, barbecuing and baseball are just a few of the typical Juneteenth activities you may witness today. Juneteenth almost always focused on education and self improvement. Thus, often guest speakers are brought in and the elders are called upon to recount the events of the past. Prayer services were also a major part of these celebrations.

Certain foods became popular and subsequently synonymous with Juneteenth celebrations such as strawberry soda-pop. More traditional and just as popular was the barbecuing, through which Juneteenth participants could share in the spirit and aromas that their ancestors – the newly emancipated African Americans, would have experienced during their ceremonies. Hence, the barbecue pit is often established as the center of attention at Juneteenth celebrations.

Food was abundant because everyone prepared a special dish. Meats such as lamb, pork and beef which not available everyday were brought on this special occasion. A true Juneteenth celebrations left visitors well satisfied and with enough conversation to last until the next.

Dress was also an important element in early Juneteenth customs and is often still taken seriously, particularly by the direct descendants who can make the connection to this tradition’s roots. During slavery there were laws on the books in many areas that prohibited or limited the dressing of the enslaved. During the initial days of the emancipation celebrations, there are accounts of former slaves tossing their ragged garments into the creeks and rivers to adorn clothing taken from the plantations belonging to their former ‘masters’.

Juneteenth and Society

In the early years, little interest existed outside the African American community in participation in the celebrations. In some cases, there was outwardly exhibited resistance by barring the use of public property for the festivities. Most of the festivities found themselves out in rural areas around rivers and creeks that could provide for additional activities such as fishing, horseback riding and barbecues. Often the church grounds was the site for such activities. Eventually, as African Americans became land owners, land was donated and dedicated for these festivities. One of the earliest documented land purchases in the name of Juneteenth was organized by Rev. Jack Yates. This fund-raising effort yielded $1000 and the purchase of Emancipation Park in Houston, Texas. In Mexia, the local Juneteenth organization purchased Booker T. Washington Park, which had become the Juneteenth celebration site in 1898. There are accounts of Juneteenth activities being interrupted and halted by white landowners demanding that their laborers return to work. However, it seems most allowed their workers the day off and some even made donations of food and money. For decades these annual celebrations flourished, growing continuously with each passing year. In Booker T. Washington Park, as many as 20,000 African Americans once flowed through during the course of a week, making the celebration one of the state’s largest.

Juneteenth Celebrations Decline

Economic and cultural forces provided for a decline in Juneteenth activities and participants beginning in the early 1900’s. Classroom and textbook education in lieu of traditional home and family-taught practices stifled the interest of the youth due to less emphasis and detail on the activities of former slaves. Classroom text books proclaimed Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 as the date signaling the ending of slavery – and little or nothing on the impact of General Granger’s arrival on June 19th.

The Depression forced many people off the farms and into the cities to find work. In these urban environments, employers were less eager to grant leaves to celebrate this date. Thus, unless June 19th fell on a weekend or holiday, there were very few participants available. July 4th was the already established Independence holiday and a rise in patriotism steered more toward this celebration.

Resurgence

The Civil Rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s yielded both positive and negative results for the Juneteenth celebrations. While it pulled many of the African American youth away and into the struggle for racial equality, many linked these struggles to the historical struggles of their ancestors. This was evidenced by student demonstrators involved in the Atlanta civil rights campaign in the early 1960’s, whom wore Juneteenth freedom buttons. Again in 1968, Juneteenth received another strong resurgence through Poor Peoples March to Washington D.C.. Rev. Ralph Abernathy’s call for people of all races, creeds, economic levels and professions to come to Washington to show support for the poor. Many of these attendees returned home and initiated Juneteenth celebrations in areas previously absent of such activity. In fact, two of the largest Juneteenth celebrations founded after this March are now held in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

Texas Blazes the Trail

On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official state holiday through the efforts of Al Edwards, an African American state legislator. The successful passage of this bill marked Juneteenth as the first emancipation celebration granted official state recognition. Edwards has since actively sought to spread the observance of Juneteenth all across America.

Juneteenth In Modern Times

Today, Juneteenth is enjoying a phenomenal growth rate within communities and organizations throughout the country. Institutions such as the Smithsonian, the Henry Ford Museum and others have begun sponsoring Juneteenth-centered activities. In recent years, a number of local and national Juneteenth organizations have arisen to take their place along side older organizations – all with the mission to promote and cultivate knowledge and appreciation of African American history and culture.

Juneteenth today, celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. As it takes on a more national, symbolic and even global perspective, the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten, for all of the roots tie back to this fertile soil from which a national day of pride is growing.

The future of Juneteenth looks bright as the number of cities and states creating Juneteenth committees continues to increase. Respect and appreciation for all of our differences grow out of exposure and working together. Getting involved and supporting Juneteenth celebrations creates new bonds of friendship and understanding among us. This indeed, brightens our future – and that is the Spirit of Juneteenth.

History of Juneteenth ©JUNETEENTH.com

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the 2006 essay from Ron Paul … just a reminder


Rethinking Birthright Citizenship


by Ron Paul

first posted 11/2011

A recent article in the Houston Chronicle discusses the problem of so-called anchor babies, children born in U.S. hospitals to illegal immigrant parents. These children automatically become citizens, and thus serve as an anchor for their parents to remain in the country. Our immigration authorities understandably are reluctant to break up families by deporting parents of young babies. But birthright citizenship, originating in the 14th amendment, has become a serious cultural and economic dilemma for our nation.

In some Houston hospitals, administrators estimate that 70 or 80% of the babies born have parents who are in the country illegally. As an obstetrician in south Texas for several decades, I can attest to the severity of the problem. It’s the same story in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. And the truth is most illegal immigrants who have babies in U.S. hospitals do not have health insurance and do not pay their hospital bills.

This obviously cannot be sustained, either by the hospitals involved or the taxpayers who end up paying the bills.

No other wealthy, western nations grant automatic citizenship to those who simply happen to be born within their borders to non-citizens. These nations recognize that citizenship involves more than the physical location of one’s birth; it also involves some measure of cultural connection and allegiance. In most cases this means the parents must be citizens of a nation in order for their newborn children to receive automatic citizenship.

Make no mistake, Americans are happy to welcome immigrants who follow our immigration laws and seek a better life here. America is far more welcoming and tolerant of newcomers than virtually any nation on earth. But our modern welfare state creates perverse incentives for immigrants, incentives that cloud the issue of why people choose to come here. The real problem is not immigration, but rather the welfare state magnet.

Hospitals bear the costs when illegal immigrants enter the country for the express purpose of giving birth. But illegal immigrants also use emergency rooms, public roads, and public schools. In many cases they are able to obtain Medicaid, food stamps, public housing, and even unemployment benefits. Some have fraudulently collected Social Security benefits.

Of course many American citizens also use or abuse the welfare system. But we cannot afford to open our pocketbooks to the rest of the world. We must end the perverse incentives that encourage immigrants to come here illegally, including the anchor baby incentive.

I’ve introduced legislation that would amend the Constitution and end automatic birthright citizenship. The 14th amendment was ratified in 1868, on the heels of the Civil War. The country, especially the western territories, was wide open and ripe for homesteading. There was no welfare state to exploit, and the modern problems associated with immigration could not have been imagined.

Our founders knew that unforeseen problems with our system of government would arise, and that’s precisely why they gave us a method for amending the Constitution. It’s time to rethink birthright citizenship by amending the 14th amendment.

October 3, 2006

Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

Ron Paul Archives

Stand Your Ground law – who is it really for?


just another rant …

and in memory of things we must never ever forget 5/2012

Today, as we move into 2016 the death count of not only Black Men, Women but Young teens are experiencing Police Brutality still being judged by the colour  of their skin  not as human beings who may need to be spoken to NOT rounded up. Unfortunately, there is a group of officers who believe America wants “SoftPolicing” NO we want treatment that is equal to the offense just as we expect of all things re: the enforcement of the law! anyway, i needed to repost my thoughts

We all use that cliché …”life goes on” … right. I was able to do my thing though the killing of Trayvon absolutely affected me but not until the days worn on and the main stream media had more and more parents wanting to tell their TM stories do we see that something just is not right. Americans began to hear how this “Stand your Ground” law works, applied or abused in the same state and that was a sad awakening. Shortly after the death of TM, two stories that still bother me were exposed; the first one is about a white man who was able to use SYG after looking outside his window watching two black males attempting to steal from or his truck. The story that I heard is that he left his house shot them both, claimed SYG and while he was questioned he was not convicted and yes he was on his own property.  The other story, is about a young black male who made a bad decision to go to a rave party, raided by the police. Yes, he was hiding on somebody’s property, until the chaos and police cleared out but then an older white man decided his domicile was under attack, calls the police who tell him not to go outside does and he shoots killing a 16yr old scared kid who had no gun and wasn’t trying to break in to this man’s house who successfully claims SYG. The big stink about these stories, is that these two white men from Florida claimed and were granted the use of that unknown law while an African American Floridian Mom of two is sentenced to 20yrs in prison for firing off a warning shot to scare her abusive husband. Reports are that Marissa had no arrest record and claimed self-defense. There was evidence of domestic violence by her husband and though the case was batted around for over a year due to the SYG law, Marissa was offered a deal to plead down to 3yrs. Ms. Alexander stated she was innocent, no one was hurt and the warning shot probably saved her life, Marissa’s use of SYG was denied. I cannot say I have read or listened to every story that is close or matches the Trayvon Martin case but my two stories here have a common denominator and that is most if not all who are denied the use of the “Stand Your Ground” law are all African Americans. This brings me to the Trayvon Martin care. We heard the reports that Zimmerman was not only a self-appointed block watch captain, he was a police wannabe who had priors, and it sounds like folks felt he was sort of a hothead. In my opinion, a piece of this tragic event is missing. We all know that he had been told, in my opinion … to stand down. I know too many people who feel as I do – that there are too many inconsistencies in what exactly happened on the night of and after Trayvon Martin died.  I want to know who left the scene why the investigator who wanted GZ arrested got override and the way Mr. Bonaparte behaved was not only offensive it confirmed the “nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there” attitude. We have what seems to be a group of Floridian Police behaving badly, leading to questions about the loud noise of silence and the look of a conspiracy in the making… some call the Deep South.

The idea that a law pushed by a couple of interest groups makes me wonder how many cases since, or before Trayvon Martin was killed, got dumped by this FPD or the state. I will admit; I keep saying there is something missing, the timeline is wrong and as that feeling creeped up like it does with parents of color feel; one can only hope the authorities will overcome that seemingly overwhelming lack of cohesive evidence to one of slow contemplation of right and wrong. The idea that “ stand your ground” is being claimed by Zimmerman in this case is not only offensive it does not seem to fit the description, even the folks who created “Stand your Ground” feel this law cannot be applied to the Trayvon Martin case.

I know what everyone else knows about the Trayvon Martin case. I accept that there is information that no civilian has access to; hope that prosecutors will exercise a good faith effort to make sure the person responsible; the person who was reckless, gets charged and jailed. I feel, according to the tapes and it is only my opinion but it sounded like Zimmerman stalked and killed TM because he looked shady and we all know that is not enough for a reasonably sane person to use as an excuse to kill. It was raining thus TM had a hoodie on and while gz is stalking Trayvon is telling his girlfriend someone was following him. The fact is the dispatcher told Zimmerman not to follow because they were on their way, yet he disobeys. I ask anyone reading this, why didn’t Zimmerman acknowledge himself while playing police officer or could it be maybe those %$&#@ always get away and wasn’t having any of it that night then claimed “Stand Your Ground”. We now know that the NRA and ALEC are associated with the “Stand your ground” law. I think this unknown law needs to be revisited reformed or dumped because it works — just not for African Americans. I have to say that since the death of Trayvon Martin it is eerie to hear so many examples of how the law works against people of color, specifically Black folks; Trayvon’s Mom stood up and rightly stated this was about right and wrong though Zimmerman’s own comments on that tape say much much more.

If you are in NYC, Please go the celebration !

~~ #ACA Laura C. is a two-time breast cancer survivor living in Texas ~~ #ACA


Planned Parenthood

Her name is Laura C., and she lives in Texas. When Obamacare opponents continue to try to block efforts to expand coverage — going so far as to shut down the government because of their opposition — it’s Laura’s future they’re threatening.

Laura shared her story with us this week. She is a two-time breast cancer survivor who was denied coverage by insurance companies for years due to her pre-existing condition. Now, thanks to Obamacare, she can finally get covered. This isn’t statistics, or politics, this is Laura’s life. And here’s what she says: “Obamacare gives me hope for my future.”

She’s not alone. As of October 1, millions of Americans now can enroll in more affordable health coverage, for the first time ever. Yet opponents of the law are still spreading misinformation. But you can do something! Here are two things you can do right now to make sure your friends and family are ready to get covered:

1
Get covered!
If you aren’t already insured, first click here to get the facts and find out how you can get covered under the health care law!
2
Spread the Word!
Make sure your friends and family know exactly what they need to get covered under new plans by sharing this image on Facebook:What you need to have ready to get covered:

Friends, the Affordable Care Act is the single biggest advancement for women’s health in a generation. Because people like you fought to make this law a reality and have stood up in support of this law against attack after attack, Obamacare will make affordable health care a reality for millions more Americans. That’s an amazing victory we can all be proud of.

It’s so important to speak out, spread the word, and make sure everyone you know can get enrolled in new plans, and take advantage of these new benefits. Today is proof of just how powerful we can be when we stand together.

Thank you for doing everything you can to protect every woman’s right to accessible, affordable health care, no matter what.

Sincerely,
Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Federation of Americ