Juneteenth, or Juneteenth, is combination of the words “June” and “19,” and is the main holiday commemorating the announcement and speech informing black slaves in Texas that the Civil War was over. and that, therefore, they were free.
It dates back to 1865 and it was June 19 when Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed in Galveston, Texas with the news that the war was over and the slaves were now free. “In accordance with a proclamation of the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free,” Granger read to a crowd.
Subsequent attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in receiving this important news have yielded various versions that have been passed down over the years. The story is often told of a messenger who was killed on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to keep the labor force on the plantations. And yet another, is that federal troops actually waited for slaveholders to reap the benefits of one last cotton crop before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.
After the wave of protests unleashed by the death of the African American, George Floyd, the date is becoming more relevant. In fact, President Donald Trump announced that he would hold a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma for this year’s presidential election in November. The choice of a place like Tulsa is controversial due to the racist acts that have occurred there. In 1921 there was a massacre against the black population of Tulsa, although at that time it was called a “protest”. This place was known as “Black Wall Street” since the African-Americans in the area had a lot of money, there were business owners, doctors, pharmacists, and there has even been talk of a pilot who had his own plane. “The black success was the source of friction in the city because it caused some envy and anger among the whites who commented: How dare those blacks have a grand piano in their house and I don’t have a piano in my house? Michelle Brown, director of programs at the Greenwood Cultural Center, who has collected and preserved 1921 Tulsa memorabilia, photos and memorabilia, told CNN.
Black-white tension reached its tipping point after an elevator incident between a 17-year-old white girl named Sarah Page and a 19-year-old black man named Dick Rowland. Page worked as an elevator operator, and Rowland would use the elevator almost every day. This particular day after the elevator doors closed and Sarah Page and Dick Rowland were alone in the elevator for a few moments, there was a scream. After the elevator doors opened, Roland ran and was later arrested. Page initially claimed that she was assaulted, Brown said. Other historical accounts say that Rowland stumbled getting out of the elevator, grabbed Page’s arm, she screamed, and a bystander went to the authorities. While Page never pressed charges, authorities did,
On May 31, a group of black and white men clashed at the courthouse where Rolwand was being held. After shooting, all hell broke loose. The outnumbered African-Americans retreated to the Greenwood district, but the next morning whites began looting and burning businesses in Greenwood, according to the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum.