Saturday, June 19, 2010


Juneteenth celebrates Emancipation Day in Texas and other parts of the former Confederacy. On June 18-19, 1865, Union forces landed in Galveston, Texas and declared universal enforcement of President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Though Lincoln was dead and the American Civil War officially ended, some Texan salveholders had been recalcitrant enough to require federal boots on the ground to ensure compliance.

Sam France, one of my paternal great great grandfathers, served with the Union 31st Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment and was mustered out at Victoria, Texas, in December 1865.  Up until about June 17, 1865, elements of his regiment were posted at Chalmette, Louisiana, and at other locations around New Orleans, until sent to Texas, presumably by steamship.  Whether Sam France arrived in Texas on or after Juneteenth, I'm not sure yet, but do know the regiment helped bring Texas back into line with the laws of the USA, maintained order, and probably worked on infrastructure projects like repairing or building railroad and telegraph lines.  

Part of Ralph Ellison's second* novel, edited by John F. Callahan, was published by Random House as Juneteenth in 1999; Three Days Before the Shooting, another version of the same novel, edited by Callahn and Adam Bradley, was released by Random House earlier this year.

*His much-lauded first novel: Invisible Man (1952).

Today's Rune: Defense.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...