June 19, 2015, "JUNTEENTH"; The 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas

Colleagues, I first heard of "Juneteenth" when we lived in Galveston, Texas, where my father, Rev. G. Haven Caldwell, was Pastor of Wesley Tabernacle Methodist Church. We lived in Galveston from 1948-50. I attended all-black Central High School in Galveston.

 You may find this history that I found on the internet helpful as we remember "Juneteenth".

"June 19th, the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Granger landed at Galveston, Texas 2 and 1/2 half years after Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. There were not enough Union soldiers to enforce the Executive Order in Texas at that time. But, with the surrender of General Robert E. Lee in April of 1865, General Granger and his Regiment were able to overcome any resistance to the Emancipation Proclamation as they arrived in Galveston on June 19, 1865."

This morning I have been working on the sermon I will deliver at the Actors' Temple Synagogue in New York City, this coming Friday night, June 19th. In my re-reading of the Exodus story of the slavery of the Israelites in Egypt, these words "jumped out at me."

"But the more the Egyptians oppressed the Israelites, the more they increased in number and the farther they spread through the land. The Egyptians came to fear the Israelites and made their lives miserable by forcing them into cruel slavery. They made them work on their building projects and in their fields, and they had no pity on them."

                                        Exodus 1: 12 - 15, GOOD NEWS BIBLE

I have suggested in earlier writings that an old term, "Negrophobia; a fear of people of African descent. Negrophobia can be caused by various things, but commonly it is the effect of xenophobia", may be helpful in understanding some of today's police abuse of black people. I appreciated the responses of those who disagreed with my use of this term. Civil disagreement among all people, particularly among those of us of African descent (This week our disagreements about the NAACP leader who is "passing" as black), is essential.

But I continue to wonder if the illogical/irrational use of "Noah's Curse" to condemn black people to slavery, racial segregation and today's police abuse, is a manifestation of "Negro/BlackPhobia"?  "Just saying/asking".


Gil Caldwell

June 16, 2015