It was on June 18, 1865 that a ship landed in Galveston with the news that the human scourge called slavery had been abolished.
Though Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, with an effective date of January 1, 1863, it had minimal immediate effect on most slaves’ day-to-day lives.
Texas Democrats resisted the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth commemorates June 18 and 19, 1865. June 18th is the day Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves. On June 19, 1865, while standing on the balcony of Galveston’s Ashton Villa, Granger read the contents of “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 personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves…
The Republican Party has been the party of freedom since its founding. In fact, the Republican Party’s founding principle was to rid the nation of the human suffering caused when human beings are owned by other human beings.
However, the Democrat Party has fought the Republican Party every step of the way. From resisting abolition of slavery which led our nation into a Civil War, to establishing Jim Crow laws after the War had ended, to fighting the Freedom Amendments to the Constitution, Democrats have stood in the way of freedom.
I am proud to lead our party here in Harris County, Texas, not far from where General Granger set foot in Galveston to bring freedom.
However, our work is not done and we will not rest as a party until the current suffering and despair caused by Democrat Party policies is abolished for all Texans.
The tide is slowly turning. Democrats are switching to our party’s growth, opportunity, freedom and prosperity agenda. Happy Juneteenth to all our African American brothers and sisters. Let freedom continue to ring!
Watch party-switcher Sen. Elbert Guillory’s testimony: