U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District participates in the 40th annual Al Edwards' Juneteenth Emancipation Proclamation Reading
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District participated in the 40th annual Al Edwards Emancipation Proclamation Reading and Prayer Breakfast at the historic Ashton Villa in Galveston June 19, 2019. Col Lars Zettersrom, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commander and Rose Caballero, Equal Employment Opportunity chief, were part of the members of the community to provide comments of greetings to the attendees. Galveston holds the distinction of being the place of the first reading of the Proclamation in the South. Former Texas State Representative Al Edwards sponsored two legislative bills establishing Juneteenth as a State Holiday in 1979 and providing for a Juneteenth Statue in Galveston. In June 2006, the Texas Emancipation Juneteenth Commission dedicated a $100,000 statue commemorating the State Juneteenth Holiday at the historic Ashton Villa, which was the first state government to recognize a holiday for African American people in the United States. Many people think slavery ended on September 22, 1862 – the date Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. In reality, many slaves weren’t freed until much later when news of the proclamation reached their towns. The last of those slaves lived in the South and were freed on June 19, 1865 after the Emancipation Proclamation was read on a harbor pier in Galveston, Texas. This date eventually became known as “Juneteenth.” While celebrations were long held in Galveston and various parts of the country in earlier years, Texas lead the way in making Juneteenth an official state holiday in 1980. Today, Juneteenth is celebrated in more than 40 states throughout the country. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Francisco G. Hamm.