Galveston County The Daily News
National leader to give keynote for Juneteenth
The Daily News
By Ian White June 19, 2010
GALVESTON — Ronald Myers, founder and chairman of a national campaign to make Juneteenth a nationwide holiday, is to be the keynote speaker at the annual Galveston Juneteenth National Holiday Observance today.
The National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, which wants a holiday to mark the anniversary of the final emancipation of slaves in 1865, is beginning the day with a prayer service at 7:30 a.m., followed by a flag raising at 8 a.m. and Myers’ address at Rosenberg Library, 2310 Sealy Avenue.
Myers began his National Juneteenth Holiday campaign in 1999, urging state officials and then-President Bill Clinton to recognize the holiday Myers calls the United States’ “Second Independence Day.”
That refers to June 19, 1865, when U.S. Maj. Gen Gordon Granger marched into Galveston at the head of 2,000 Union soldiers and issued General Order No. 3, informing Texans that President Lincoln had freed the slaves as of Jan. 1, 1863.
Some shocked, others jubilant, many slaves stayed at their plantations and became paid workers, while others left immediately and headed north.
General Order No. 3 is now known as the Emancipation Proclamation, and its reading forms the central element of the annual Juneteenth celebration.