June 16 celebrates the “Anniversary of Freedom” – Low Calorie Diets Tips

In 1863, news traveled like molasses.

News came by word of mouth and mail delivered by horse, wagon, or stagecoach. Still, in 1865—two years after President Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery—about 250,000 people in Texas had no idea they were free. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared “that all persons held in slavery in the rebellious Confederate States “are and shall be free henceforth.”

Upon hearing of Lincoln’s proclamation, abolitionist and social reformer Frederick Douglass said, “We cry out with joy that we live to proclaim this just decree.”

The hard-fought struggle for freedom

The War between the States ended on May 9, 1865. General Gordon Granger, a Union war hero, was given control of what was then known as the District of Texas, a military division of the United States Army.

By the summer of 1865, Texas was mostly unoccupied by the Union Army. In remote Confederate backwaters like Texas, many blacks remained enslaved for months after the war.

That changed on June 19, 1865, when Granger rode into Galveston, Texas and announced that enslaved people had been freed. He issued General Ordinance No. 3, which encouraged people to stay with their former masters, who would instead be considered employers. The verdict read: “The freedmen are advised to remain quietly in their current homes and to work for pay.”

Granger’s announcement did not keep the new releasees in the Lone Star State. Many chose to seek a better life in the North or to return to their families. Efforts by some freedmen to leave were stymied by former slave owners trying to keep Lincoln’s proclamation a secret.

Those who left found their opportunities to celebrate their newfound freedom very limited. In 1866, many freedmen wanted to celebrate their “Jubilee of Liberty,” but there were few public parks to go to. Segregation laws were expanded. In the 1870s, a group of former enslaved people raised $800 to buy 10 acres. Until the 1950s, the small piece of land – originally known as “Emancipation Park” – was the only public park with a swimming pool open to African Americans.

June 16 celebrations became popular with the civil rights movement in the 1960s, when Martin Luther King planned to start a March of the Poor on June 16. The holiday was born when marchers took the celebration back to their home states.

Almost 160 years later, Texas became the first state to recognize June 16 when it made the day a state holiday. Congress passed legislation making June 16 a federal holiday, and President Joe Biden signed the law into law on June 17, 2021.

Essay contest helps spread the meaning of Juneteenth

It’s important to ensure young people know and understand the origins of Juneteenth, said Justin Ragland, Summit Media’s promotions, marketing and events director. Summit Media and Alabama Power are sponsoring an essay contest for young people ages 8 to 18 in the Birmingham area that will award $9,000 in scholarships.

To participate, students can record a video of up to 3 minutes or write an essay about June 16 and the meaning of the holiday. The entries should also express the importance of educating about June 16th.

“Our stations 98.7 KISS and 95.7 Jamz and Alabama Power have always paid tribute to our African American community and will continue to do so,” Ragland said. “We wanted to make sure the youth of Juneteenth understood what it is and what it means to them. We think it’s important because June 16th is finally being recognized nationwide and is on the front lines…we wanted kids to research the day. You need to be told exactly what Juneteenth was.”

One winner will be selected in each category:

  • Mr. Prince Juneteenth, ages 8-11, receives a $1,000 book stipend.
  • Mr. Junior Juneteenth, ages 12-15, will receive a $1,500 book stipend.
  • Mr. Juneteenth, age 16-18, is a recipient of a $2,000 scholarship to a Historically Black College or University (HBCU).
  • Little Miss Juneteenth, ages 8-11, receives a $1,000 book grant.
  • Junior Miss Juneteenth, ages 12-15, will receive a $1,500 book scholarship.
  • Miss Juneteenth, 16-18 years old, is awarded a $2,000 stipend for an HBCU.

Kiss and Jamz will announce the winners on air June 16, and the names of the winners will appear on the broadcasters’ websites.

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