Celebrating Juneteenth: 150 Years Since Emancipation

 African Cemetery No. 2.

On June 19th, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas. With them, came news of the end of the Civil War along with word that those enslaved were now free.

Despite this being more than two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Texans were so removed that the President’s executive order was never enforced. But Major General Gordon Granger offered this General Order No. 3:

“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 rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”

Among those Union troops arriving at Galveston were six regiments of the U.S. Colored Troops organized in Kentucky. Those regiments, and the location of their organization, are listed below:
109th – Louisville
114th – Camp Nelson
115th – Bowling Green
116th – Camp Nelson
117th – Covington
122nd – Louisville

African Cemetery No. 2, Lexington, Ky. Fred Rogers/NRHP

Tomorrow – June 19, 2015 – marks 150 years from the anniversary of freedom for all Americans. Over the past 150 years, Juneteenth celebrations have become more commonplace … though the celebration is still not widespread.

Since 2003, Juneteenth has been annually celebrated in Lexington, Kentucky at the African Cemetery No. 2 on East Seventh Street (Note, however, that local festivities are held on Saturday closest to Juneteenth).

This year, the sesquicenntial celebration will include a flag ceremony honoring the 65 known USCT soldiers buried at the ceremony who served at Galveston. Also included will be discussions on Fayette County’s African-American hamlets of Bracktown and Adamstown.

Juneteenth Celebration
June 20, 2015
10:00 a.m. to noon

African  Cemetery No. 2.
419 E. Seventh St., Lexington

Free and open to the public.