Kerrville, TX – Juneteenth has been touted as a national day celebrating the end of slavery. Observances from coast to coast have turned this event into part of the national conversation about race, slavery, and how Americans understand, acknowledge, and explain what has been called the national “original sin.”
Why Juneteenth? Where did this celebration come from? What is the origin story? What are the facts, and legends, around this important day in the nation’s history? This is the first scholarly book to delve into the history behind Juneteenth. Using decades of research in archives around the nation, this book helps separate myth from reality and tells the story behind the celebration in a way that provides a new understanding and appreciation for the event.
“At the end of the Civil War, millions of formerly enslaved people would remember and celebrate the moment when the ‘freedom paper’ was read to them, meaning that they were now free at last,” author Ed Cotham said. “What was that paper? For many of the emancipated men and women, it was an order similar to General Orders No. 3, the “Juneteenth Order,” which has now become one of the most famous orders of the Civil War.” This book will captivate people interested in the history of emancipation and African American history but also those interested in Civil War and Texas history. As the United States continues to wrestle with race relations and the meaning of full equality, Juneteenth promises to become an important expression of that equality—an Independence Day celebration in its own right, a couple of weeks in advance of the traditional July 4th Holiday. This book will be a welcome addition to classrooms, book clubs and general readers interested in this once-obscure regional event now destined for the national spotlight.
“We are having long-overdue conversations about slavery and its legacy in the history of the United States,” said Dr. Donald S. Frazier, director of The Texas Center at Schreiner University where the publisher is based. “Texas once again leads the way. What once was a state celebration has now become a national phenomenon, as well it should.”