Juneteenth 2017 - drums - Not Gaddy (copy)

Not Gaddy, owner of I Drum 2 U of Augusta, held an African drum workshop for kids during the Juneteenth Education Camp at the Aiken Cultural Center on York Street in 2017.

On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, announcing all persons held as slaves within the rebellious areas are and henceforth shall be free.

A political move by Lincoln, the proclamation did not end slavery immediately or in all states, but it served as a rallying cry for Union troops and for blacks to fight on the side of the Union to win their freedom.

The Civil War did not officially end until June 2, 1865, and word of the Emancipation Proclamation did not reach the last stronghold of slavery, in Galveston, Texas, until June 19, 1865, more than two and a half years after it was issued.

“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.”

So began General Order Number 3, as read by Major Gen. Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865.

It was on this date that Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, with news the Civil War had ended and the enslaved were now free – again, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which became official Jan. 1, 1863.

The annual celebration of the events of June 19, 1865, is most commonly known as Juneteenth. It’s the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.

Juneteenth has become a day of freedom – a day marking the liberation from American slavery, and now a day symbolically marking the liberation from racism and prejudice.

— Valdosta Daily Times, Valdosta, Ga.