"Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated"
Shalom my friends,
The culturaXchange keeps rolling, though it has been more than 3 years since I sent out a newsletter. I would say it's nothing personal, but…Read more
Do you know how to celebrate the end of slavery in America? We need to know because it's the greatest victory of Christians in America, even if it was a high cost.
It's called Juneteenth. I have much to say about this, but first some history.
The end of slavery was resisted in the South for months after Lee's surrender. Texas, being the farthest from Washington, was the last State to be occupied. That made Texas the last bastion of slavery until June 19th, 1865 in Galveston.
During the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. The Emancipation Proclamation was formally issued on January 1, 1863. It declared that all enslaved persons in the Confederate States of America in rebellion and not in Union hands were to be freed. This excluded the five states known later as border states, slave holding states that had not seceded from the United States and – Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, and Missouri – and the counties of Virginia soon to form the state of West Virginia, and also the three zones under Union occupation: the state of Tennessee, lower Louisiana, and eastern Virginia.
More isolated geographically, Texas was not a battleground, and thus the people held there as slaves were generally not affected by the Emancipation Proclamation. Planters and other slaveholders had migrated into Texas from eastern states to escape the fighting, and many brought enslaved people with them, increasing by the thousands the enslaved population in the state at the end of the Civil War. Although most enslaved people lived in rural areas, more than 1,000 resided in both Galveston and Houston by 1860, with several hundred in other large towns. By 1865, there were an estimated 250,000 enslaved people in Texas.
The news of General Robert E. Lee's surrender on April 9 reached Texas later in the month. The Army of the Trans-Mississippi did not surrender until June 2. On June 18, Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston Island with 2,000 federal troops to occupy Texas on behalf of the federal government. The following day, standing on the balcony of Galveston's Ashton Villa, Granger read aloud the contents of "General Order No. 3", announcing the total emancipation of those held as slaves: "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 personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere"
How did slavery get started in the first place? On June 19th, 2011 Dr Raleigh Washington of PromiseKeepers with Rabbi Eric Carlson of Newport News VA sponsored a Juneteenth March of Remembrance on the very property where slavery began in 1607.
Also speaking that day was the great, great, great, great, great (is that 5x?) granddaughter of General Gordon Grainger who had issued that order in Galveston June 19, 1865
Other speakers included Chief Ann Richardson of the Powahatan Tribe, and there were several local Pastors and ministries that wanted to give a word or lead us in worship.
The point of March of Remembrance has ALWAY been about breaking the silence of indifference. We can argue statistics and policies but it's hard to argue there isn't a whole lot of indifference between people everywhere these days. As they say, "Sunday is the most segregated day in America" to our shame.
On this date, we had invited every church, every saint we could and yet the turnout was very small. We only need ONE to hear us, but it was a disappointment more didn't find it worthwhile.
But how about this year? Would you be willing to walk for AT LEAST 8:46 in a public way, either with your congregation or by yourself if necessary, praying on June 19th, 2020? Would you pray until your heart breaks for injustices done to black people LONG BEFORE today? Would you pray that your heart breaks for fellowship with ALL of the saints in this worldwide tapestry? We have to be the people we are hoping for.
We should be leading instead of reacting, my friends