Juneteenth became an official holiday recognized in Texas on January 1, 1980. As a child, I grew up hearing about the holiday, but not fully understanding the history behind the holiday and it was not covered in depth in any of my high school or college classes. As I did my own research, by reading online articles and visiting Galveston, I gained a better understanding of the day. Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. Although, slavery was made illegal under the Emancipation Proclamation, Texas as the most remote state of the former Confederacy, had seen expansion of slavery because the presence of Union troops was low as the American Civil war ended. It is celebrated on the anniversary of the order issued by Major General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865.
As I researched historical sites in location we settled on Levi Jordan plantation in Brazoria, TX as a great start point. Levi Jordan plantation was a sugar and cotton plantation situated on the San Bernard River in the 1840s. At its peak, the plantation enslaved over 144 African Americans. Last month we opened the plantation to the community to reflect on the history of the sacrifices and strength of the slaves that once occupied this plantation and others across the south.
On Sunday morning, June 18, I ran 20 miles paralleling the shoreline of Galveston beach and finished at Ashton Villa. Ashton Villa in Galveston, TX, where Major General Gordan Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived to take possession of the department of Texas and enforce the emancipation of the slaves.
The weekend’s run was extremely demanding, given it is run on surface roads and completely exposed to the elements. We are grateful for those that attended the event, whether to race, volunteer, observe, or cheer on their loved ones. The long-term goal of this race is to continue to expand our reach to celebrate this holiday as people become drawn to the event not only for the physical and mental challenge but finish the run enlightened and inspired.
Feature Image via 2C2K Photography(S'ouvre dans une nouvelle fenêtre)