Galveston

No More Normal: Free-ish?

Jun 20, 2021
Khalil Ekulona / KUNM

One hundred and fifty-eight years ago, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, putting an end to slavery in the United States. News traveled slowly in those days—no social media to spread the word. But this executive order took an especially long time to get to all corners of the country: two-and-a-half years, in fact. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, where the last enslaved people were told of their freedoms. From that moment on, African Americans have celebrated June 19 as the end of slavery in their communities, towns and cities. What do they celebrate? Freedom for one. There is also a theme of remembering our ancestors who survived almost unfathomable hardships so that we can be here, today.