Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of 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.
One thing however is clear, and that is that the condition of enslaving Africans as resources, the colonization of their Mother Continent Africa for her resources was a driving force behind racialized capitalism in Europe and the so called "New World." Fortunes were made while Africans, in spite of their genius, talent, and material wealth were driven into abject poverty.
It is for this reason that we feature the annual MC Juneteenth market as an African Market Place. It is a symbol of the indomitable spirit of Africans throughout the globe and an opportunity for others to benefit from the quality goods and services that the African community brings to the world.
Our Theme for this year is "Looking Towards the Future"
Where do we go from here? Are we free? What does freedom mean?
Marin City Juneteenth Festival Committee
We are connected by the money we spend.