For the past week, here in Galveston, there have been small celebratory daytime activities commemorating that day, which became known as Juneteenth. In fact, there is a large sculpture of a black man holding high a piece of paper on the lawn at one of Galveston's historic Broadway mansions, Ashton Villa, but interestingly enough, there is no inscription and no sign telling visitors what it is. A tour of the mansion does not include that information, either. I asked a black woman in the Galveston History Center across the street from Ashton Villa what the significance of the statue was, and she didn't know. I then asked a docent in Ashton Villa and was told it's titled "The Orator"* and that it commemorates the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston June 19, 1865. I failed to ask why no signage.
It was a long time until blacks started actually getting any type of equal status to whites, of course. I can remember when the elementary school I attended was integrated.
Now, at least blacks can be wage slaves like us white folk.
*You know, now that I have thought about it for a while, I'm no longer certain that's the title of that statue (which I'm going to post a picture of if I get my camera connected before the day is out), but I am certain that the man at Ashton Villa told me that, although the story goes that the Emancipation Proclamation was read from the balcony of Ashton Villa - and thus the statue on the lawn there - it actually was read from one of the buildings downtown on The Strand. Galveston has a very colorful history, and that's a very minor detail. But one can only wonder how much of Galveston's legend is misremembered. Oh well, as my attorney cousin once described his own motto: Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.
I think that's the Bush Administration's motto, too.