Tuesday, June 20, 2017

UTSA celebrates freedom on Juneteenth

UTSA celebrates freedom on Juneteenth

(June 14, 2017) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) University Center (UC) will host a special program recognizing Juneteenth Day, Monday, June 19.  The history of Juneteenth goes back to 1865, when General Granger read General Order No. 3 to residents in Galveston, Texas, proclaiming that “all slaves are free.”

Juneteenth represents a historical moment of great magnitude, yet one that is often overlooked.  Many people confuse President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 with the total emancipation of slaves.  However, the Emancipation Proclamation specifically excluded several border states, including Texas.  It was almost two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation that General Order No. 3 eradicated slavery within Texas. 

Annual Juneteenth celebrations are a meaningful way for communities to acknowledge the history of slavery in America, while celebrating freedom and progress.  According to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Juneteenth was officially recognized as the state holiday “Emancipation Day” as of 1980.  Communities throughout Texas host annual events honoring Juneteenth, and UTSA is proud to join these collective efforts.

“I think it is important, especially today in our current political climate, to acknowledge and celebrate our history and use this opportunity to recognize our diverse population at UTSA,” said Herb Ganey, director of the UTSA University Center.

The University Center Juneteenth Day Remembrance Event will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, June 19 in the Window Lounge located on the first floor of UC North.  The event is a collaborative campus effort, and will include a brief program for attendees.  Karla Broadus, director of the UTSA African American Studies program, will open the event with remarks on the historical and modern significance of Juneteenth.  Following her remarks, General Order No. 3 will be read aloud.  In closing, the program will feature a poetry reading on freedom by UTSA Student Government Association President Marcus Thomas and Vice President Brittany Garcia.

In addition to the program, a visual display will be on exhibit in the Window Lounge in UC North during the day on Monday, June 19.  The display will include photographs of the historical location where General Order No. 3 was read, as well as a copy of the order for guests to read.  The Juneteenth Day Remembrance Event is open to the entire UTSA community.  

- Liz Rockstroh

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