Vintage photos of Juneteenth
June 19, 2021 11:19 AM   Subscribe

“'There is no nationally recognized moment where this country takes a pause and says, you know what, this country enslaved people, broke up families, in perpetuity for generations. Juneteenth is becoming a time when the country can do that,' [Dr. Brian] Purnell told BuzzFeed News." But before it was signed into law as a federal holiday, Black communities in different parts of the country have been recognizing Juneteenth since 1866: Photos Of How People Celebrated Juneteenth 100 Years Ago.
posted by taz (5 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
It occurs to me that the dapper fellow leaning against a post would be too young to remember Juneteenth, and would be too old to see the Civil Rights Act. Celebrating Juneteenth in that context would mean something very different for him.

For the group of elderly people in Austin in 1900, there's no doubt that June 19 would have a deeply personal meaning for them as individuals. That makes this the most compelling photograph. Liberation changed their life, here they are with pride in this day, in the clothes they chose for themselves.

Happy Juneteenth!
posted by adept256 at 12:08 PM on June 19, 2021 [3 favorites]

Wow, those decorated carriages - all those flowers on the wheels!

Also, I really associate Civil War reenactment with current-day white guys. To see these gentlemen in Texas in 1900 - wow. I can only begin to imagine their emotions as reenactors.

These are such great photos. Thank you so much for sharing them with us, taz!
posted by kristi at 12:24 PM on June 19, 2021 [8 favorites]

A common myth is that Blacks in Texas didn't know they'd been freed until Juneteenth. This is not true.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 1:58 PM on June 19, 2021 [15 favorites]

kristi, that photo caught my eye, too. The reenactors picture is in the Eastwood Park series taken by Grace Murray Stephenson (aka Mrs. Charles Stephenson), and "Mrs. Grace Murray Stephenson kept a diary of the day's events, which she later sold to the San Francisco Chronicle, which wrote a full-page feature on it." I'd really like to read her original diary or the resulting article.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:25 PM on June 19, 2021 [3 favorites]

Iris Gambol - thanks for the link with info about Mrs. Stephenson!

I searched the San Francisco Chronicle and came up empty-handed - I tried "Grace Stephenson" and "Charles Stephenson" and lots of variants on "Emancipation Day". Weird. I wish I knew WHEN the feature was published - that might make it easier to find.
posted by kristi at 7:04 PM on June 19, 2021

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